Those are incredible numbers for any player, let alone someone who is now 37 years old.
James is also averaging something else: injuries.
This year has seen James plagued with multiple injuries that have sidelined him again and again.
And now James is facing yet another physical ailment that has taken him off the floor.
Due to a left knee injury, James has missed three consecutive games with his team.
Surprising no one, LA lost each of those games without him.
The loss of James is problematic, of course, but it comes with the territory for an aging star – even one as amazing as himself.
The real problem is that the Lakers just can’t seem to pull of a win without him…and they might be without him much more often moving forward.
Needing His Knee
When it was first announced that James was going to miss some time due to a knee injury, the hopes were that it wouldn’t be long.
It quickly became apparent that the injury – and the time he’ll miss – was more severe than expected.
Apparently, the knee problems are so bad that he headed home to the west coast early to work on rehabbing.
Head coach Frank Vogel said that as long as there is swelling in the knee, James will be out.
Frank Vogel says LeBron James has returned to L.A. to begin treatment on his left knee. “As long as the swelling is there, he is going to be out,” Vogel said.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 30, 2022
However, he did say he hoped that James could play in the Lakers’ first home game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
One of the more troubling aspects of the injury is that the Lakers aren’t sure what caused it.
Vogel said the knee problems were not caused by a specific play but were instead first felt when James woke up on Thursday morning in Philadelphia.
In other words, this is just expected wear and tear that aging players experience.
Father Time is making his presence known.
More To Come?
If there was one bright spot coming from James’ latest absence it was Russell Westbrook‘s performance Saturday night against the Charlotte Hornets.
Westbrook came alive when the Lakers needed him most: scoring 35 points with a field-goal percentage of 52.2.
Russell Westbrook scored 30 of his 35 points in the 2nd half vs the Hornets🔥 The last Laker with a 30-point half was Kobe (38) in his final NBA game.
Miles Bridges on Russ: "He's a great player. All the hate he gets, I don't get it." pic.twitter.com/fJi5Gi0BmB
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 29, 2022
It wasn’t enough in the end – the Hornets still won 117-114 – but it was great to see Westbrook finally acting like a powerhouse again.
However, as noted, the team still lost.
Yes, that game was without Anthony Davis as well but it was a sign of just how much James brings to the team.
And there is a great chance that James will miss even more games.
His body is just not as reliable as it once was and he will need more time after each injury.
That means there will likely be many more games without James – and more without AD too.
If a dynamite performance from Westbrook isn’t enough to put the Lakers over the edge, will anything do it?
How do the Lakers survive without James?
They better figure it out because it’s a reality they’ll be facing much more often.