LeBron James to miss Lakers’ game Tuesday and possibly more

Lakers forward LeBron James dribbles the ball up court.
Lakers forward LeBron James shook off a foot injury Sunday in Dallas to score 26 points in a 111-108 comeback victory over the Mavericks.
(LM Otero / Associated Press)

The Lakers announced that LeBron James will not play because of “right foot soreness” when the team faces the Grizzlies on Tuesday night in Memphis. However, there is concern that the star forward will miss multiple weeks with the injury.

Though details are scarce, people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly confirmed that the severity of James’ foot injury might sideline him for several games.

James injured his foot during the third quarter Sunday in the Lakers’ 111-108 comeback road win over the Dallas Mavericks, his sneaker sticking to the court, sending him falling awkwardly to the ground. He appeared to tell teammates and Lakers staff that he “heard a pop.”


James originally thought he stepped on Mavericks center Dwight Powell’s foot, but later he learned that it was a non-contact injury that occurred when his foot jammed into the court.

He was able to continue playing and finish the game.

James walked with a significant limp when leaving the arena.

‘Just trying to keep building in that right direction as we keep progressing,’ said Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt after win at Dallas on Sunday.

Feb. 27, 2023

“It’s been better. That’s for sure,” he said afterward. “But I definitely wasn’t going to go to the locker room and not finish the game out tonight. Just understood the importance of the game and then with the momentum that we had, I felt like we could still win after being down. We’ll monitor it the next couple days, see how it feels and go from there.”

The Lakers (29-32) are in 12th place in the Western Conference but only 3½ games behind the fourth-place Phoenix Suns.

The team has won three consecutive games and has been building significant momentum, though Monday’s concerns about James’ foot are a significant blow to a team that has dealt with injury problems all season.

After he was officially ruled out of the game at Memphis, James posted a picture of his foot on Instagram with the words “F--- sucks!!!!”

James is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists this season, breaking the NBA’s all-time scoring record Feb. 7. He has played three games since then — all Lakers wins.


The Lakers have not issued an update on the severity of the injury beyond James’ status for Tuesday.

There are six weeks left in the regular season, with the Lakers needing to make up ground to ensure they don’t miss the postseason for a second straight season.

Point guard D’Angelo Russell is doubtful to play after he missed Sunday’s game at Dallas because of an ankle injury. Anthony Davis (right foot) has been listed as probable.

With James out, the Lakers could look to newly acquired Rui Hachimura for an expanded role, though his production has been uneven since the team acquired him from Washington.

Anthony Davis has 30 points and Jarred Vanderbilt finishes with 15 points, 17 rebounds and four steals as the Lakers rally to a victory in Dallas.

Feb. 26, 2023

James said he has been dealing with an illness since the All-Star break. Before the break, he missed multiple games because of soreness in his left foot and ankle.

Tuesday’s game will be the 15th James has missed this season. The Lakers are 5-9 without him.


Despite the injury, James scored 26 points against the Mavericks and helped lead the Lakers back from 27 points down — the largest comeback in the NBA this season.

“Yeah, always,” Lakers guard Austin Reaves said when asked whether he was concerned when he saw James get hurt. “With him hurt, rolled his ankle, whatever, you never want to see that. Any of the guys on the team, you never want to see anybody get hurt. So we’re happy he could finish the game, and to have him and AD [Anthony Davis] carry us down the stretch was really important.”

After the game against the Grizzlies on Tuesday, the Lakers play at Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

At the All-Star break, James said he hoped to be available for the team throughout its final push for the playoffs.

“I hope I can figure out a way to just make sure that I’m available on the floor every single night for these 23 games to give us a chance,” he said, “give our group a chance to be able to compete every night and give ourselves a chance to win every night so we can give ourselves a chance to get into the postseason.”

The Lakers likely will have to spend significant time pushing without their best player, a massive challenge for a team that was starting to find its footing.