“I mean, I have no idea how I finished the game, to be honest, after watching that replay,” James told reporters, via McMenamin. “It’s pretty nasty.”
The Lakers (31-43) blew a 23-point lead in succumbing to the Pelicans by a 116-108 count. James finished with 39 points, but scored just four in the fourth quarter after turning the ankle.
LA is now as half-game behind the Pelicans in the Western Conference standings and in 10th place overall, one game ahead of the Spurs. Seeds Nos. 7-10 qualify for the playoff play-in tournament.
Clearly, the Lakers are now in danger of missing even that, and their odds certainly wouldn’t be helped if James has to miss time.
“I hope not,” he said. “S—. I hope not, because I hate missing games. That’s not in my nature.”
James described the ankle as feeling “horrible,” and per McMenamin, walked with a “noticeable limp” after the game.
The Lakers led, 36-29, early in the second quarter when James suffered the injury, stepping on the foot of Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes.
“It’s tough. It’s just been that kind of season,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He was just in an incredible groove right around then, and credit him for toughing it out. But you can see he was limited on it somewhat the rest of the way. But he battled through it.”
The Lakers, of course, have also been missing the injured Anthony Davis (foot), and his return remains to be determined.
The Lakers next plat Tuesday, vs. the Mavericks on the road.
“It’s horrible right now. And unfortunately, we’re about to hop on a flight, too,” James said. “See what happens day-to-day. But it’s pretty sore right now.”