How LeBron’s injury changes the NBA playoff and MVP races

  • Co-author, Pro Basketball Prospectus series
  • Formerly a consultant with the Indiana Pacers
  • Developed WARP rating and SCHOENE system

What are the implications of LeBron James’ high ankle sprain for the Los Angeles Lakers’ title defense and his hopes of winning a fifth MVP?

After trying to play through the injury, suffered in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, LeBron pulled himself out of the game and was later diagnosed with a high ankle sprain following an MRI. Although there’s no specific timeline for James’ return, a high ankle sprain is often a multiweek injury.

Can the Lakers, already playing without fellow All-Star Anthony Davis due to a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis in his right leg, fortify their roster before Thursday’s trade deadline? And how will LeBron’s absence affect the MVP race? Let’s answer the key questions in the wake of James’ injury.

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