The news coming out of L.A. isn’t good. LeBron James will miss at least three more games, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. While three games don’t seem like a lot, the Los Angeles Lakers star has already missed two weeks. James suffered a strained left groin injury Christmas Day.
That may be the best-case scenario for James’ recovery. McMemamin notes that James is prepared to be out multiple weeks, which may be necessary. There are reports that the injury may be more serious than it seems. In fact, if they are true, James may miss all of February and potentially longer.
Before you check your browser’s navigation bar, no, you’re not reading Silver Screen and Roll. This is still Mavs Moneyball. Here’s why James’ injury matters: The amount of time he misses directly impacts the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic’s possible All-Star nod.
After the second round of All-Star voting was released by the NBA last week, Doncic trailed only James in votes in Western Conference frontcourt players and in the conference as a whole. James leads all players with 2,779,812 votes. Doncic tallied 2,220,077.
The new NBA All-Star Game format no longer separates teams by conference. Instead, two team captains pick the teams from the pool of players selected to be All-Stars. Rules dictate that “[t]he captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference.”
If voting continues like as it has, and Doncic keeps pace behind James, he’s almost certainly a lock to be an All-Star, at the very least. However, if James is still out with injury and unable to partake in the festivities in Charlotte next month, does it mean that Doncic will become a team captain? Or will the league let an injured LeBron pick a team?
All-Star voting continues through Monday, Jan. 21 at 11:59 p.m. ET, giving fans another week to have their say. It’s unlikely that the NBA ever expected to have a rookie be in a position to be an All-Star captain. It’s safe to say that Doncic isn’t an ordinary rookie, though.
As it stands, Doncic has a 125,919-vote lead over Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who is in third place on the West ballot. There’s still a lot of time left, but right now, the All-Star game is heading toward unprecedented territory.