LeBron James has proven to be one of the most durable players that the NBA has ever seen over the course of his 18-year career. However, after missing Sunday's game against the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers star has hit an unfortunate milestone.
After being out this weekend due to an ankle injury, this is now the longest absence of LeBron's professional career. The length of time passes James's previous record absence of 35 days during the 2018-19 season, his first spent in Los Angeles.
Now, it's been 36 days since the 36-year-old was last available to suit up for the Lakers. The last time James appeared in a game was on March 20, when he sustained a high ankle sprain in the second quarter of Los Angeles's game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Unfortunately for LeBron, and the Lakers, no clear return timetable is in sight. The latest update came from ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who said that the earliest James would be back is next week. However, at this point that seems optimistic.
The Lakers have struggled mightily with James and Anthony Davis both missing significant time due to injuries. Davis returned this past week on a minutes restriction, but the 2020 NBA champs have slipped to fifth in the Western Conference at 35-25. With just 12 games remaining, the Lakers will comfortably make the postseason, but may not get the match-up that they want.
Although Los Angeles has labored in James's absence, the fact that this is the longest time away from basketball during his NBA career is astounding. Since he came into the league, he's only missed over 30 days just twice. His third longest absence came during the 2014-15 campaign, where he was out for just 16 days.
Considering the mileage that LeBron has put on his body, the lack of injuries and time away from the court is impressive. Over the last 18 years, James has played in 1,306 career games and logged nearly 50,000 minutes.
LeBron's longevity combined with his 17 All Star appearances, 16 All NBA nods, four MVP awards and four NBA titles, has created one of the mosts impressive basketball résumés of all time.