SAN ANTONIO — The Lakers have decided to take “a marathon approach” with LeBron James and the sore right ankle that kept him out of Tuesday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.
So even with a back-to-back game Wednesday night at Oklahoma City, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James will be listed as “questionable” for that game and will be day to day going forward.
James missed 26 games last season because of a right ankle injury, an injury the forward said didn’t completely heal until the summer. Vogel said this current ankle injury is the “same ankle,” but a “different spot” and a “different injury.”
“Going to see how he feels,” Vogel said. “He’s just day to day and he’ll get evaluated again tomorrow and see what the soreness is like and make a decision then.”
That left James on the Lakers bench wearing a gray sweatshirt, gray hat and dark gray shorts, giving instructions and watching his other two stars, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, carry the load in his absence during a thrilling 125-121 overtime victory over the Spurs.
Davis had a scary moment when he went down late in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury, but he still was a force with 35 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks in 42 minutes.
Westbrook came up two assists short of his first triple-double with the Lakers, producing 33 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 40 minutes.
Davis said, “Yes and no,” when asked whether he and Westbrook made it a decision to carry the Lakers with James out.
“I mean, just consciously, the Big Three and one is out so we kind of have to pick up that slack,” Davis said. “But we never say, ‘All right Russ, it’s on me and you tonight.’ Team never said it. It’s just something that kind of happens. But I told Russ, I said, ‘whether I play, Bron play, we don’t play, it doesn’t matter. You still got to be yourself.’ And he did that tonight. The way he played tonight was incredible. And we need that from him every night, no matter if Bron is playing or not.”
When the game hung in the balance in the overtime, Davis and Westbrook stood tall, combing to score 10 of the Lakers’ 11 points to help them even their record at 2-2.