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

Posted: Mar 21, 2021Last updated: Mar 22, 2021

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.

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Kyle Trimble

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