LeBron James ‘may need foot surgery to repair a torn tendon he’s been playing with for months, but is expected to be ready for the 2023-24 campaign’… if the Lakers star decides to return for a 21st NBA season
- LeBron James may need to have surgery on a torn tendon in his foot
- He would be ready to return for the 2023-24 season if he does decide to play
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
LeBron James may need to have surgery on a torn tendon in his foot that he’s been dealing with several months.
The Los Angeles Lakers star will undergo further testing, but surgery remains a possibility, league sources have told The Athletic.
If he does need surgery, James should be fine for the starting of training camp, but only if he decides to return for the 2023-24 season.
James raised some doubts about his future following the Lakers’ season-ending loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals earlier this week.
‘I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest,’ James told reporters after the Lakers were swept. ‘Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.’
LeBron James has reportedly been dealing with a torn tendon in his foot for several months
James didn’t meet with the media on the day after the top scorer in NBA history said he needed time to think about his basketball future following the Lakers’ elimination from the Western Conference finals.
The 38-year-old James has skipped his team’s postseason media exit interviews before, but his decision Tuesday left Lakers fans hanging about his intentions with his enigmatic comments following a four-game sweep by the Denver Nuggets.
General manager Rob Pelinka and coach Darvin Ham said they’ll speak with James soon about his future.
‘We all know that (James) speaks for himself, and we’ll look forward to those conversations when the time is right,’ Pelinka said. ‘LeBron has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who has ever played. When you do that, you earn a right to decide whether you’re going to give more. … Obviously, our hope would be that his career continues, but we want to give him the time to have that inflection point and support him along the way.’
Despite James’ 40-point performance, including a career playoff-best 31 points in the first half, the seventh-seeded Lakers were swept by the top-seeded Nuggets with a 113-111 defeat in Game 4 on Monday night, ending James’ attempt to win his fifth career championship in his 20th NBA season.
Pelinka (right) and Ham (left) refused to speculate on James’ future with reporters this week
Ham joked: ‘Coming off a tough loss like that, the work we’ve put in this season, I think I was ready to retire after last night, too.’
Pelinka and Ham declined to speculate on whether James’ frustration stemmed from his persistent foot injury, which could conceivably require surgery to correct fully. He missed a month of the regular season down the stretch, but returned to his usual heavy workload before the playoffs.
James had been largely healthy throughout his NBA career until he reached his mid-30s in Los Angeles, where he has missed significant chunks in four of his five seasons.
‘When there’s any injury, you seek multiple medical opinions, and there were some that doubted whether he could play again this season,’ Pelinka said. ‘For him to end the season playing virtually 48 minutes and posting a virtual 40-point triple-double as a player in the 20th year of his NBA career is staggering.’
The Lakers all said they understood why James would question his future after an outstanding performance in defeat.
‘I feel like that’s human nature, to be his age and be playing at the level he’s playing at,’ Troy Brown Jr. said. ‘Personally, I feel like because of his love of the game, he will continue to play. But I don’t blame him at all.’
LeBron James said on Monday night that he ‘had a lot to think about’ in regards to his future
Pelinka said he hopes to keep much of the Lakers’ current core around James and Anthony Davis, calling roster continuity ‘a high priority’ after several years of major annual changes. James is due to make $46.9 million in the first season of his two-year, $97 million contract extension, but several key contributors to the playoff run are free agents.
‘I think there’s proof in concept that this was a really good team,’ Pelinka said. ‘But we’re not going to rest on our laurels. If there’s opportunities to get even better, we’re always looking to improve. But we have a core that’s highly successful, and that’s a good starting point.’
Los Angeles was one of the NBA’s best teams after its moves at the trade deadline, going 18-8 to end the regular season even without James. The Lakers then made an impressive run to the conference finals, knocking off second-seeded Memphis and defending champion Golden State, but ran out of steam against the powerhouse Nuggets.
‘We feel like we’ve got special players in the locker room that enjoy playing with each other,’ Pelinka said. ‘We know there’s more growth and improvement in that group, especially if we get a training camp together.’
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