LeBron James faces an indefinite layoff after suffering an ankle injury as the Los Angeles Lakers slumped to defeat against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
Lakers superstar James collapsed to the Staples Center court in agony after a collision with Atlanta’s Solomon Hill in the second quarter of the Hawks’ 99-94 win.
After writhing on the floor clutching his right ankle, the 36-year-old returned briefly to hit a three-pointer before limping back to the locker room, knocking over a chair in frustration.
ESPN later reported that an MRI scan revealed a high ankle sprain and that James faced an “indefinite” injury layoff.
Depending on the severity, high ankle sprains can take anywhere from a few weeks up to several months to recover from.
James did not speak to reporters afterwards but later vowed to return as soon as possible.
“Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates!” James wrote on Twitter.
“I’m hurt inside and out right now. The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left.”
A lengthy layoff for James would be a devastating blow to the Lakers, who are already without star Anthony Davis due to a long-term injury. James and Davis were the key figures in the Lakers’ championship-winning season last year.
A grim-faced Lakers coach Frank Vogel admitted James’ injury would be a challenge but backed his team to adjust to the star’s absence.
“It’s certainly going to be a challenge any time you’re undermanned,” Vogel said after the loss. “But if you play team first basketball and you defend at our level you’ll have a chance to win and that’ll be our mindset.
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