LeBron James has recently been sidelined with an ankle injury due to a collision with Solomon Hill during the recent Lakers-Hawks game. LeBron James has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and could be gone for a fairly long amount of time, which is unfortunate to fans worldwide. While LeBron James will most likely be back in time to lead the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs, his injury could have potential ramifications on an important regular season accolade: the MVP award.
LeBron James is clearly the best player in the world, but even the best can succumb to injury. Injuries mean missed time, and missed time could mean that voters will focus elsewhere when voting for this year's MVP. LeBron James could miss a solid amount of time with his injury. Here is what the NBA had to say about LeBron James' high ankle sprain:
Recovery rates vary, but high ankle sprains typically take anywhere from six weeks to three months to mend. The Lakers’ final regular season game is in roughly two months, on May 16.
The NBA's prognosis indicates that LeBron James could miss at least six weeks. An article by Matt Moore shed more light on the high ankle sprain, and the potential time missed.
That is considerably worse than just an ankle sprain. For more, here’s Jeff Stotts from In Street Clothes:
The timeline of recovery for ankle sprains widely varies based on a number of factors including the severity of damage, the involved joint, and any other accompanying injury. Treatment for a high ankle sprain is the same as a normal medial or lateral ankle sprains but generally take longer to heal. A big reason for this extended recovery time is linked to the disruption of overall stability and potential widening of the ankle mortise.
Over the last six seasons, the average missed time for an isolated high ankle sprain is roughly 10 games. However the variability is high and a quicker return is possible. For example, earlier this season Indiana’s Myles Turner was able to return to action from a high ankle sprain after just three days and one game lost.
There’s just no way to know at this point. James, in general, has been about as indestructible as it gets. The return time can be as short as two weeks or as long as 6-8 weeks.
The article talks about the high variance in heal time: perhaps LeBron James can get back to his usual self fairly quickly, and continue dominating the league. However, if he does miss time, it could be serious. If we use the six-week timeline provided by the NBA, then it seems like LeBron James could back in early May, perhaps in time for the May 2nd matchup against the Toronto Raptors. That is 21 games that LeBron James is going to miss as a result of his injury. If LeBron James does end up missing the 21 games, then it will be hard to vote for him over players who managed to play the entire season. That sentiment is further exacerbated by the fact that this is a shortened season as well.
While LeBron James may not win the MVP award, he will still be back in time for the playoffs. That means that he could still lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a championship this season. It seems like it would be better for LeBron James to stay out until he is completely healthy, and shine in the playoffs. Hopefully, we see LeBron James recover from his injury quickly, and get back to the court ready to beat his opponents.