LeBron James Prioritizes Health Over Lakers’ Playoff Seeding

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA News
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has made it clear that his health will precede the Los Angeles Lakers’ pursuit of a higher NBA playoff seeding as the regular season draws to a close.

After the Lakers secured a 136-124 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, James underscored the importance of being prudent with his physical condition, especially given his challenges with his left ankle.

“I got to be smart with it,” James said. “If I’m not healthy, or [anywhere] close to being healthy, then it’s not good for our ballclub anyway. It’s not good for me.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers Updates

Returning from a one-game hiatus due to soreness in his left ankle, James notched his fourth triple-double of the season, contributing 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists in the win against Memphis. This performance is particularly notable considering James’ ongoing ankle issues, which have been a concern for months.

“Just be very strategic,” James said. “Obviously, understanding and seeing how my ankle and my foot is feeling. But just being very smart about it, obviously. We are where we are, but our health has always been the most important for our ballclub.

“Not just one individual. But for me looking out for myself when it comes to injury and knowing my foot and knowing my ankle and how it reacts, and how it’s been over the last couple of years, it’s just always keeping a hefty eye on it,” James explained.

With this latest win, the Lakers have extended their winning streak to five games, a season-high, and found themselves ninth in the Western Conference standings.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers Updates

Despite the team’s placement and the competitive push for playoff seeding, James signaled his unwillingness to compromise his health for short-term gains, reflecting on his decision to rest during the Lakers’ recent double-overtime triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I mean, I would’ve probably tried to play yesterday [in Milwaukee] if that was the case,” James said.

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