Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was playing through a torn tendon in his right foot which may require surgery in the offseason, according to Shams Charania. James will have his foot re-evaluated in the near future, and if a surgical procedure is required it would sideline him for two months.
James originally injured his foot on Feb. 26 during a regular season game against the Dallas Mavericks. On-court cameras caught him saying “I heard it pop” while he was on the floor, and though he played the remainder of that game he missed the Lakers’ next 13 games.
Upon his return on March 26, James revealed that multiple doctors suggested he needed season-ending surgery at the time, but he found “the LeBron James of feet,” who helped him return to the court. He played in every single game the rest of the way for the Lakers, helping them get into the play-in tournament as the No. 7 seed, and eventually all the way to the Western Conference finals.
There, despite James putting up 27.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 10 assists per game, the Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets. Following Game 4, he admitted that he wasn’t at his best due to the injury and said he would get an MRI on his foot to determine a next step.
“I knew I could get to the finish line,” James said in an interview with ESPN. “Obviously, I knew I had to deal with it and deal with the pain or deal with not being able to be myself before the injury, but there was nothing that made me feel like I couldn’t get to the finish line.
“I’m going to get an MRI on it and see how the tendon either healed or not healed and go from there. We’ll see what happens.”
Whether James needs surgery or not, he will be ready for the start of next season — that is, assuming he does not retire. During his Game 4 press conference he referenced the possibility, though he is widely expected to continue playing. Charania on Thursday added that he does not expect James to retire based on what he’s been hearing.