After leaving last Sunday’s loss early with a pain in his right ankle, the Lakers star James lebron probably won’t return to action until at least this next Sunday, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Wojnarowski, James is set to miss Thursday’s game against the Clippers and Friday’s game against Portland as he rests his troublesome ankle. LeBron, who also appeared in Monday’s game against Denver, missed 20 games with a sprained right ankle and was only back for two games when he made the injury worse.

As Woj notes, the 36-year-old is expected to proceed cautiously with his ankle, focusing on his health for the playoffs. James suggested Sunday night that he was prioritizing the playoffs rather than fighting for the regular season standings.

“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day (where the Lakers land in the standings) if I’m not 100% or close to 100%,” said James, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

While LeBron’s position makes sense, his continued absence will put the team at greater risk of losing their grip on one of the West’s top six seeds – a seventh place would mean having to make at least one game. play-in to secure a place in the playoffs. As we noted earlier, Friday’s game in Portland is particularly important, as the Lakers and Blazers are neck and neck in the standings. Friday’s winner will gain a decisive advantage.