AP source: Lakers bracing for James to miss multiple weeks

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, reaches for the ball against Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers may miss multiple weeks with an injury to his right foot, a person familiar with the situation said Monday night.

The full extent of the injury is not yet known and more test results were pending, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither James nor the Lakers announced anything about a long-term absence.

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The Lakers had already ruled James — the NBA's all-time leading scorer — out for Tuesday's game at Memphis with what they called right foot soreness.

James played 37 minutes in the Lakers' 111-108 win at Dallas on Sunday, helping Los Angeles rally from a 27-point deficit. But he left the arena with a pronounced limp, with video from The Dallas Morning News showing how much the foot was bothering him.

He got hurt in the third quarter, grabbing at the ankle after spending some time on the floor in obvious pain. But he stayed in to finish the game, noting how important it was to the Lakers' playoff hopes.

“It’s been better,” James said. “But I definitely wasn’t going to locker room and not finish the game. The importance of this game and then the momentum that we had, I felt like we could steal one after being down.”

James leads the Lakers in scoring at 29.5 points per game, and said at the All-Star break earlier this month that the team's closing stretch this season would be some of the most important games he has played — noting he didn't want to miss the postseason for a second consecutive year.

The Lakers (29-32) started Monday 12th in the Western Conference, a game from 10th and the final spot in the play-in tournament, and only 2 1/2 games behind Dallas in the race for sixth. The top six teams in each conference are guaranteed playoff berths.

If James — a 19-time All-Star, playing in his 20th NBA season — misses extended time, the Lakers' task of getting in figures to become significantly tougher.

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