LeBron James has strained adductor, doubtful for Lakers vs. Kings

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James complains after receiving.
Lakers forward LeBron James complains after being called for a foul against the Clippers on Wednesday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

LeBron James won’t play Friday with what the Lakers are calling a strained left adductor and though he’s day-to-day, he easily could miss Sunday’s game as well.

He was originally listed as doubtful but downgraded to out Thursday evening.

James, who suffered the injury during the fourth quarter in a loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night, underwent an MRI exam Thursday that revealed no tearing in or near his groin muscle.

“It’s not torn, that’s the biggest thing, that he didn’t tear anything,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “So it was good news. You know, I’m sure it’s painful. Doubtful, day to day, whatever — I’m just happy there wasn’t anything torn.”


What we learned from the Lakers-Clippers game Wednesday: Darvin Ham will not be frustrated, LeBron James wants more fouls calls, Troy Brown looks solid.

Nov. 10, 2022

James missed 17 games after straining his left groin in his first season with the Lakers, later saying it was partially torn and that he played through lingering effects upon his return.

He said Wednesday the injury didn’t feel as bad as that one in 2018.

“I didn’t do anything extraneous on the play,” he said postgame Wednesday. “Just when I landed, I felt a little spasm or strain in my groin.”

After the Lakers play Sacramento and Brooklyn, they have four days before hosting Detroit the following Friday. If James misses both games this weekend, he’d have eight days of rest before the Pistons game.

James missed just one of the Lakers’ first 11 games this season, sitting out Monday in a loss to the Utah Jazz with foot soreness.

Paul George scored 29 points as the Clippers won for the fifth time in six games in a 114-101 win over the Lakers on Wednesday at Arena.

Nov. 9, 2022

Starting wing Troy Brown Jr. said the team can take some offensive lessons from that game if James misses significant time.

“I would just say our pace was faster a little bit,” Brown said. “We were going more so to [Anthony Davis] in the post a little bit so being able to play off those cuts.”


Ham said the Lakers would continue to bring Russell Westbrook off the bench if James is ruled out.

“I’ve said it time and time again. I love what he’s bringing, coming off with that second unit and giving us a boost when needed,” Ham said. “Just him being able to orchestrate and be Russ. Dominate the ball. Dominate the pace. And play free.”

James’ injury is the latest piece of adversity that’s hit the struggling Lakers this season. Davis has been dealing with lower-back tightness since the preseason and is in noticeable pain on the court. Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant are still out as they recover from the same thumb surgery. Lonnie Walker IV is questionable Friday after missing the last two games with a virus that also cost Patrick Beverley games last weekend.

“We can’t change anything that’s happened up to this point,” Ham said after Thursday’s practice. “The thing we did pinpoint though is the first seven games, how we defended, and then the last four games how we defended. First seven games, we were third in defensive efficiency. Last four games, we’re 30th. So we have to get back, first and foremost, to being us and what we said we’d hang our hat on — which is defensive capability. So we’re finally scoring points, but we let our main bread and butter slip, and we can’t do that.

“So we addressed that in film session, showed different analytical graphics that told a story on its own. So now it’s just a matter of trying to have carryover tomorrow.”