Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James rolled his ankle on the opening night against the Los Angeles Clippers but insisted afterward that he will be ready to play the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day. James, who is set to turn 36 years of age next week, rolled his ankle in the fourth quarter and he didn't return to the game after exiting with 7:51 left to play.
The Lakers were trailing 99-92 when James exited the game and the Clippers went on a quick 6-0 series to push the lead to 105-92. The Lakers never recovered from the deficit as the Clippers claimed a 116-109 win on the opening night.
James said he turned his ankle "pretty good" but remained optimistic that he will be able in two days when the Lakers meet the Mavericks. "I turned it pretty good, but I don't think it's going to stop me from playing on Friday," James said, as quoted on ESPN.
"So, have a couple days, you know how I am about treatment, so I'll do that around the clock and I think I should be fine by then."
James not panicking
The Lakers lost a big game on the opening night and James rolled his ankle but the four-time NBA champion remained calm and relaxed afterward.
"I'll go home and have dinner right now," James said. "I'll ice it, and I'll drink some wine that will flow right to the ankle. ... I can make sure I can drink on the left side of my body so it just goes right down to my left leg, right down to my ankle.
But I'll be around the clock. I'll wake up [Wednesday] morning before I leave the house, and also I'll get some more treatment at the facility and just continue to do that. "Like I said, we have a couple days, so I'll be fine."
The Lakers were buried by Clippers star guard Paul George, who dropped a game-high 33 points to lead the Clippers to a win in the opening night. The Clippers blew a 3-1 playoff lead against the Denver Nuggets last season and George received lots of criticism for his poor play.
George entered this season motivated to prove the doubters wrong. "I've applied the work that I put in this offseason," George said after the win. "It's not gonna be pretty every night. Tonight I got it going and was able to show up big time for my team."