LeBron James High-Ankle Sprain: NBA Injury Watch & Return Timetable for Lakers Star

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NBA injury analysis on the LeBron James high-ankle sprain.

LeBron James High-Ankle Sprain: NBA Injury Watch & Return Timetable for Lakers Star

One of the most difficult things to do in professional sports is to defend a championship. The Los Angeles Lakers are currently dealing with the struggles of that task now that LeBron James is out indefinitely with a right high ankle sprain following Saturday’s loss against the Atlanta Hawks. 

The play occurred in the first half when Solomon Hall fell onto the outside of James’ ankle, twisting it outward into external rotation and dorsiflexion as he fell down. This mechanism of injury is a classic example of a high ankle sprain. This is an injury to the syndesmosis, a fibrous ligament band that connects the tibia and fibula together that articulates with the talus to create the ankle complex. 

An example of the mechanism of injury for a high ankle sprain. Credit: Physioworks.au

When a high ankle sprain occurs, this stretches the syndesmosis with instability occurring when the talus pushes up between the tibia and fibula as though it is a wedge. Unfortunately, this is not an injury that can be simply taped up and played through. It did appear promising that James continued to attempt to play on the ankle before walking off into the locker room. However, the ankle likely quickly swelled up and prevented normal movement.

 

While the reports indicate that he is out indefinitely, a more realistic timeline is 2-6 weeks. The average time missed for a high ankle sprain is 46.4 days with ranges between 15.4-70 days. LeBron James has been known as a prolific healer when it comes to recovery from injury and it’s quite possible he could return quickly again. For James, it’s reasonable that he stands to return closer to 2 to 3 weeks rather than the 6 weeks unless the injury is worse than it appears. 


NBA Betting & Fantasy Basketball Analysis

Even if LeBron returns after 2-to-3 weeks or 7-to-10 games, the injury will still be healing, and his minutes may be reduced in his return to avoid aggravation.

Find a short-term replacement for fantasy basketball lineups, but do not sell. An injured LeBron James is still better than most players in the league. The Lakers have been at .500 without Anthony Davis; the loss of LeBron may keep that trend going looking at the schedule over at least the next two weeks. The Lakers better beat the teams they can and steal a win from a few others to keep up in the playoff race.

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.

Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.

After reading Kyle’s update on LeBron James High-Ankle Sprain: NBA Injury Watch, get more NBA betting and fantasy basketball tips

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