Ouch! Lakers lose LeBron James to high-ankle sprain, fall to Hawks

L.A superstar suffers right ankle injury and does not return
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The Los Angeles Lakers had the team’s four-game losing streak snapped, succumbing to the Atlanta Hawks 99-94 Saturday afternoon at the Staple Center.

With the win, the Hawk kept the longest winning streak currently in the NBA alive in the process.

But the story of the day was an injury to Lakers’ do-everything swingman LeBron James.

With 10:50 left in the second quarter, Atlanta Hawks forward Solomon Hill rolled into LeBron James’ right ankle chasing after a loose ball. James let out a scream in frustration as he grimaced in pain rolling around on the floor.

LeBron James gets his ankle rolled into by Solomon Hill/USA Today Sports

LeBron James gets his ankle rolled into by Solomon Hill/USA Today Sports

James was attended to by the team’s training staff. However, he got up on his own and stayed in the game, draining a three. On the ensuing possession, James called a timeout and left the floor headed for the locker room for further evaluation, knocking down a chair on the way.

Fellow co-captain Anthony Davis went back to the locker room to check on him.

Now in his 16th season, the 36-year-old James has missed just one game this season due to a lingering, mild left ankle sprain.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel offered no new update after the game, However, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that according to a source James is receiving an MRI on his right ankle.

The Lakers announced soon after that James suffered a right high-ankle sprain and will be out indefinitely.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel offered no new update after the game, However, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that according to a source James is receiving an MRI on his right ankle.

“Certainly, it’s going to be a challenge any time you are undermanned,” Vogel said. “But if you play team-first basketball and you defend at a high level, you’ve got a chance to win. And that will be our mindset.”

Los Angeles already has two starters on the bench with Anthony Davis out due to a right calf strain and Marc Gasol working himself back into game shape after missing six games due to the NBA’s healthy and safety protocols. So, playing without James for a significant chunk of games could be a daunting task for the undermanned Lakers.

Trae Young did a great job leading the offense for the Hawks, finishing with 14 points and 11 assists. John Collins paced Atlanta with 27 points and 16 rebounds.

Danilo Gallinari chipped in 18, including 4 of 6 shooting from the 3-point line. Clint Capela added eight points and 16 boards.

Saturday’s game marked the first time guard Rajon Rondo returned to Los Angeles to play against his former team since the Lakers won the NBA championship in the Orlando bubble last year.

Rondo finished with two points and five assists in 14 minutes.

With the loss, the Lakers dropped to 28-14 on the year, while the Hawks improved to 22-20.

Top player: Montrez Harrell led the Lakers with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

What I liked: Dennis Schröder awkwardly rolled his ankle but continued to play hard, diving for loose ball and aggressively attacking the basket. He finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Schröder will have to shoulder even more of the scoring load with James and Davis potentially out for an extended period.

What I didn’t like: Leading by a point at the half, the Lakers let the Hawks go on a 14-0 run to start the second half and never regained the lead.

Injuries: Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Marc Gasol and Kostas Antetokounmpo are both cleared from the NBA’s health and safety protocol. However, neither have played in over two weeks. So, they both will get some play time in before games and in practice to work themselves back into game shape.

They said it: ““He’s such a unique player. His mind is unlike any player that I’ve ever coached, and that the league has probably seen. He just has a unique lens on the game. And I think that is something you cannot replace.” – Vogel on coaching Rajon Rondo last season.