38-year-old All-Star Los Angeles Lakers power forward LeBron James has been playing while banged-up pretty much throughout the 2022-23 NBA season. He is often listed as merely “probable” to suit up on injury reports preceding the 20-25 Lakers’ regular season contests. Ahead of a game against one of the West’s best tomorrow, however, his status is a bit murkier than that. Jovan Buha of The Athletic reveals that the 18-time All-Star has been listed by LA as merely “questionable” to suit up Friday against a tough 31-13 Memphis Grizzlies club. James has been dealing with a sore left ankle for months. He has also had other foot issues this season, and has thus far missed 10 games due to his various ailments. Without him, the Lakers have gone a middling 4-6.
Aside from an occasional reticence to go inside for buckets late in games (which manifests in LBJ settling for triple tries too early in the shot clock), James has been his normal All-NBA self at the halfway point of year 20. Through his 35 healthy contests, the 6’9″ vet is averaging 29.8 points on .509/.290/.764 shooting splits, 8.4 rebounds, seven assists and a steal a night. Memphis, the second seed in the Western Conference, is currently riding high on an 11-game winning streak, led by the explosive young All-Star Ja Morant. The 23-year-old point guard’s jaw-dropping dunks have been so nice they’ve even captured The King’s attention. Without LeBron (or, heck, even with LeBron), the lowly Lakers would be hard-pressed to actually beat the Grizzlies tomorrow, given that the team is already without three of its top seven players in Anthony Davis, Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves.