LeBron James sits out Lakers' showdown with Milwaukee Bucks due to his balky ankle


LOS ANGELES — LeBron James is sitting out the Los Angeles Lakers’ meeting with Milwaukee on Friday night due to his injured left ankle.

The 39-year-old James will miss his ninth game of the season when the Lakers host the Bucks. Los Angeles is 4-4 without the top scorer in NBA history.

James is “just experiencing some severe soreness, and we decided not to have him play tonight,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said.

James’ ankle has bothered him all season long, and it forced him to miss each of the Lakers’ games around the All-Star break. He then limped off the court in pain with about four minutes left in Los Angeles’ 130-120 home loss to Sacramento on Wednesday night.

James dismissed the injury after the game, saying it was “just something I’ve been dealing with.”

Ham said the injury isn’t a major cause of concern for the Lakers, who are struggling to make up any significant ground in the Western Conference playoff race despite being on a 10-5 surge since the start of February. The Lakers host West-leading Minnesota on Sunday.

“I think it’s caused by 21 years of service,” Ham said. “We think it’s a day-by-day thing, and we’re going to treat it as such. See how he feels tomorrow. … Bron does a great job of preparing himself to go to battle. It’s something you’ve got to be aware of and constantly monitor. It’s the reality of a long NBA season and an extremely long career.”

James has been featured on the Lakers’ injury report all season, with the team usually waiting until shortly before game time to announce whether he will play that night. James was ruled out against the Bucks more than four hours before tipoff, suggesting the injury has flared up more significantly.

James has been outstanding in his 21st NBA season, averaging 25.3 points, 8.0 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game. He reached 40,000 career points last weekend during a loss to Denver.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA



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