LeBron James is out for Monday's game against the Denver Nuggets, four days after returning from the longest stretch of missed time in his career.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, James' status also remains uncertain for Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers due to a sore right ankle.
James had been out since March 20 with a high ankle sprain, missing 20 games as the Lakers tumbled down the Western Conference standings. The team currently sits in a three-way tie for seventh place at 36-28.
If the team's slide continues, it will have to reach the playoffs through the NBA's new play-in tournament, an idea of which James doesn't seem to be a fan.
How low can Lakers sink?
The return of James on April 30 and Anthony Davis, also out for a significant amount of time, on April 22 was supposed to be the beginning of the team's resurgence. James himself was hyping their return by saying a thunderstorm was coming, but it's been more of the same so far for the team.
The team is 1-5 since Davis returned, and has lost both games with James back. Sunday's loss to the Toronto Raptors was particularly brutal, as James exited midway through the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle and had this to say afterward:
The assumption has long been that the Lakers remain among the NBA title favorites so long as they have a healthy James and Davis in the playoffs, but those conditions are starting to look a little less certain. The team is about to start a rough stretch of five straight games against teams with records of 36-28 or better, and not having a 100 percent James for that stretch would be a massive blow.
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