LeBron reveals full extent of foot injury, may still require surgery
LeBron James revealed the full extent of the injury that kept him out of the Los Angeles Lakers' previous 13 games before Sunday's return, but said he may still require surgery.
James returned off the bench with 19 points, making six-of-11 shots from the field with eight rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes as the Lakers lost 118-108 to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
The four-time NBA MVP revealed after the game that he had actually torn a tendon in his foot against the Dallas Mavericks on February 26, which typically keeps players out for longer than the four weeks' recovery time he needed.
The 38-year-old said he was told by two doctors that he required surgery but opted against it, albeit conceding he may still require an operation on the injury in the offseason.
When asked why James opted against surgery, he replied: "Because I went to the LeBron James of feet and he told me I shouldn't."
James added: "Right now I don’t need it [surgery]. We'll wait and see. I'll probably get another MRI at the end of the season and go from there.
"If I end up having to get surgery after the season... by the time next season starts I'll be fine, I'll be ready to go."
The Lakers provided few updates during his recovery, with his return coming with minimal advance warning.
James added that doctors told him he was "healing faster than anybody they've seen before with the injury", leading to his early comeback, although he said he would remain "day to day" in the short term depending on his recovery.
"I felt confident in the workouts that I had this week," James said. "The day after the workouts, when I woke up, stepped out down off the bed, I could possibly play today. After my workout early before the game today, I knew I could play."
On his performance, James added: "I felt okay. Obviously the rhythm is the most important.
"I had a couple of drives and the ball got away from me and a couple shots didn’t feel as good as before, but I was out for four weeks obviously so between that and the wind I've just got to get those things back leading into the final stretch of the season."
James' return for the Lakers came with seven regular season games left, with the side having gone 8-5 in his absence to boost their playoff hopes.
"Now we're sitting with a chance to be a top-eight seed that definitely changed my mindset coming back and trying to be part of this obviously," James said. "I won't say changed, but enhanced it, in terms of my workouts and treatment. They played such great basketball."
James is averaging 29.3 points on 50 per cent shooting with 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists from 48 games this season.
The Lakers dropped below .500 with the defeat, sitting ninth in the West with a 37-38 record.