2 and a half months into the 2018/19 NBA season and the Lakers are facing their first real test as a team. As the midway stretch approaches, they'll have to face some playing time without their franchise star.
Although an MRI revealed LeBron James sidestepped serious injury, the All-NBA forward did suffer a significant left groin strain and the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for him to miss several games, sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers are calling James' absence "day-to-day," but sources told ESPN there is a healing process that needs to occur before James can return to the lineup.
A timeline for James' return is further complicated by the fact that he has never had to navigate this severe of a groin injury and still needs to gain an understanding of how his body will respond to treatment.
So far, LeBron has played in every regular season match for the Lakers. Now the team, who is also missing Rajon Rondo with injury, will have to count on their young core to hold down the fort in the midst of these absences.
It was reported earlier that some within the league already doubt the Lakers can make the postseason if James misses more than 10 or so games, so the fact that they have performed rather inconsistently of late (splitting 5 of their last 10) doesn't make things any more hopeful.
No doubt, it'll be a big test for the team. It'll take some adjustments, and it likely won't be pretty right away, but if Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, and company can keep the team afloat, it might bode well for their long-term role with the team.