Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James might have surgery this offseason after playing through a torn tendon in his right foot, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. James’ foot will be re-evaluated in the near future, and, if he requires surgery, the procedure would reportedly sideline him for two months.
James originally injured his foot on Feb. 26 during a regular season game against the Dallas Mavericks. On-court cameras caught him saying “I heard it pop” while he was on the floor, and, after finishing that game, he missed the Lakers’ next 13 games.
Upon his return on March 26, James revealed that multiple doctors suggested he needed season-ending surgery but he found “the LeBron James of feet,” who helped him return to the court. He played in every single game the rest of the way for the Lakers, helping them get into the play-in tournament as the No. 7 seed, and eventually all the way to the Western Conference finals.
There, despite James putting up 27.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 10 assists per game, the Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets. Following Game 4, he admitted that he wasn’t at his best due to the injury and said he would get an MRI on his foot to determine a next step.
“I knew I could get to the finish line,” James said in an interview with ESPN. “Obviously, I knew I had to deal with it and deal with the pain or deal with not being able to be myself before the injury, but there was nothing that made me feel like I couldn’t get to the finish line.
“I’m going to get an MRI on it and see how the tendon either healed or not healed and go from there. We’ll see what happens.”
Whether James has surgery or not, he is reportedly expected to be ready for the beginning of 2023-24 training camp — assuming he does not retire, that is. James said after Game 4 that he has to think about if he wants to continue playing.
Despite his comments, it would be a surprise if he stepped away rather than returning for a 21st season. In an interview on The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Charania said that people around James were caught off guard by his quotes, adding, “Do I expect LeBron James to retire? I don’t. I fully expect him to play next season. All I’ve heard since those comments is that he will be playing next season.”