The Los Angeles Lakers avoided losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, but almost lost superstar LeBron James to injury.
Grizzlies forward Desmond Bane crashed into James’ right leg in the first half of their 121-118 win at Staples Center on Sunday.
After the collision, James lay on the ground for several minutes, prompting the Lakers to request a time-out and bring in medical staff to watch him.
For James, the fear of injury arose on the same leg where he sprained his right ankle last season when the Atlanta Hawks’ Solomon Hill crashed into his lower body for a theft.
James missed 26 games last season and didn’t fully recover until months after the start of the offseason.
“The first thing I was like, ‘Not yet,'” James said afterward.
“Because obviously it was almost similar but not the same kind of game. Guy falls into my leg, and there’s nothing you can do about it, and I couldn’t get my leg out in time.
Things were different this time around, as James stayed and played 40 minutes, a high, finishing with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.
Bane collided with James when Dwight Howard attempted to block Bane’s finger roll attempt with around 6:27 left in the second quarter.
The gunshot entered and Bane fell to the ground after colliding with bodies with Howard.
James was focused on the rim trying to get the rebound and never saw the Grizzlies descend towards his leg.
“I just wanted to take a moment on the floor, I just hope it doesn’t get worse,” James said of the moments after the contact. “I had the opportunity to tie my shoe again and see if I’m able to go, I was able to keep going.”
The veteran star said his leg was “sore” after the game, but said he planned to receive treatment “around the clock” before Tuesday’s road game against the San Antonio Spurs.
James said he plans to play in San Antonio.
“I hope I’m ready to go,” James said.
LeBron James is entering his 19th season in the league, however, his durability has started to be questioned over the past three seasons.