LeBron James claims that despite the advice of two medical professionals to have surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right foot, he has chosen to play the rest of the season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
James returned to the Lakers on Sunday after missing a month due to what he later disclosed to be a serious tendon injury. For just the second time in his 20-year NBA career, he didn’t start, but he still led the Lakers in scoring with 19 points in their 118-108 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The NBA’s all-time leading scorer had not played since complaining of right foot pain following a victory at Dallas on February 26. After receiving the sobering diagnosis, James considered having surgery, but his teammates’ outstanding performance in the closing minutes and
The doctors told James that he was “healing faster than anyone they’ve seen before with the injury,” according to James.
James sought a second opinion from an unidentified foot specialist, which was another factor that influenced his choice.
James refused to identify the surgeon, only saying, “I went to the LeBron James of feet, and he told me I should (delay possible surgery).”
In an effort to help the Lakers avoid missing the playoffs for the third time in James’ five seasons in Los Angeles, James returned with eight games remaining in the regular season.
James said he was inspired by his teammates while he put in 12-hour workdays between rehab and training to get back in action. Los Angeles went 8-5 while James was out despite adding five new rotation players around the trade deadline, finally developing some chemistry during their push.
The play-in round is a waste because we can actually be a top-eight seed, James said. “They go 8-5 and obviously had a chance to,” he added. “It definitely altered my perspective on returning and attempting to participate in this. Well, I don’t even want to say that it altered my perspective. It merely enhanced everything I was attempting to do, including my workouts, medical care, and other efforts. They were outstanding basketball players. You guys saw me on the sidelines, just so ecstatic about what the guys are doing, from me being in a boot to me getting out of the boot.
James kept the specifics of his recovery under wraps on social media, and the Lakers gave few updates on his condition while he was away. He also missed five games earlier this season due to a torn left adductor, and throughout his time with the Lakers, he has missed significant amounts of time due to injuries.
However, James is appearing healthy at a crucial time for the Lakers, who might finally have access to their entire roster for the games left in the stretch run.
D’Angelo Russell missed his second straight game due to a right hip injury while James made his comeback. Due to injuries to both players, Russell and James have only appeared in two games together since the Lakers acquired Russell in a trade last month.