The Lakers’ playoff hopes are in jeopardy, with an ankle injury against LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers playoff hopes have been fading for weeks. Now, to survive Tuesday night against the Phoenix Sons, they have to find a way to win without LeBron James.

James, a four-time winner of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, will be forced to miss the main collision with the Sun due to a left-ankle injury that compromised his availability last week.

The 37-year-old missed two matches last week due to injury and Sunday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, which the Lakers lost, left them two full games behind the San Antonio Spurs for a place in the Western Conference Play-Tournament.

Going into Tuesday’s game, Los Angeles has played four more times this season. To get a chance in the play-offs, the team needs to close the 3-1 or 4-0 stretch, where the Spurs have not won more than one of their last four games.

James’ ankle injury was annoying for a while, though it varied how slow it was. Frank Vogel, the Lakers head coach, has taken a cautious approach to James’ health, giving him a break, even as he raises his claim to win every game.

In his most recent appearance, against the New Orleans Pelicans last Friday, James blazed a narrow Los Angeles rate, averaging 38 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Throughout the season, while healthy, James is reminiscent of his MVP years. Throughout 56 games, he averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists.

Still, his personal success did not translate into a Lakers win, as injuries from other stars such as Anthony Davis and an aging roster that never seemed to be implemented in competitive management seemed to lead to a largely forgotten season for the multi-storey franchise.

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