Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James made his long-awaited return to the court on Friday night in a 110-106 loss to the Sacramento Kings, but his latest injury may affect the 36-year-old for the rest of his basketball career.
James, who finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in 32 minutes of action, suffered a high-ankle sprain to his right leg and he was unable to play in 20 games over six weeks, which is by far the most time he has missed in his career due to an injury.
James said that he felt “OK” after the game, but added that he felt a little tightness and that’s when he said that he may never be 100% healthy again.
“I knew I wasn’t going to get back to 100 percent. It’s impossible,” James said via ESPN. “I don’t think I will ever get back to 100 percent in my career.”
The Lakers are currently tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the sixth seed in the Western Conference as of Sunday afternoon. James said ever since he suffered his injury, he’s been working hard to get back on the court to help his team win games.
The 18-year veteran said there has been an “urgency for me to get back” since the injury. Noting how hard he worked in rehab he told reporters they should have seen the “logging of the minutes and hours per day that I was doing as far as rehab and treatment, it was a lot more than I slept. … It was horrible, honestly, for me. I was more [stressed] than I’ve ever been. But I’m happy I’m playing now, so a little stress relief.”
Before the start of the 2021 season, James signed a two-year extension with the Lakers that will last until the conclusion of the 2022-23 season. At that point in time, James will be 38 years old. It will be interesting to see how the rest of his career plays out, and if injuries will continue to hinder the once immortal superstar.