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Frank Vogel Shares LeBron James Knee Injury Update

LeBron James on the court for the Lakers.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 21: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Detroit Pistons during the second quarter of the game at Little Caesars Arena on November 21, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

LeBron James is poised to miss his third straight game with soreness in his left knee when the Los Angeles Lakers square off with the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Based on the latest update from head coach Frank Vogel, the 37-year-old won't even be with the team when the Lakers take the floor this afternoon.

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

">According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Vogel shared Sunday morning that James has returned to Los Angeles to begin treatment on his left knee. The 18-time All-Star supposedly underwent a MRI recently and it revealed that he's just dealing with general swelling. But, unless that swelling goes down, James will remain out. “As long as the swelling is there, he is going to be out,” Vogel said Sunday, per McMenamin.

James was first ruled out with the injury on Thursday for the Lakers primetime matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. He then missed the second night of LA's back-to-back against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.

The Lakers lost both games.

James has been a guiding light in an otherwise infuriating season for the 2020 NBA champions. In 36 games this year, he’s averaging 29.1 points, 6.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds per contest, while shooting 52.2% from the floor, 35.2% from beyond the arc and 75.9% from the free-throw line.

Although his production at the age of 37 has been remarkable, James has had to carry a heavy workload this season. With Anthony Davis just coming back after missing a month with an MCL sprain and Russell Westbrook struggling to fit into a team with other stars, James is averaging 36.6 minutes per game, which is over three more minutes per contest more than he played last season.

Simply put, the Lakers (24-26) need James on the court to be successful. Vogel will have to hope that some time off will help his superstar recover and that Westbrook and Davis can shoulder the load without him for the time being.

The Lakers will try to stop their two-game skid on Sunday in Atlanta. Tip-off against the Hawks is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.