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LeBron James will sit out Lakers’ preseason opener

Coming off a season in which he missed 27 games due to injuries, including one to his right foot, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James won’t play in the team’s preseason opener Saturday against the host Golden State Warriors.

James, who turns 39 in December and is the NBA’s oldest active player, plans to see plenty of action during the preseason ahead of his 21st NBA season.

“Six preseason games, so hopefully I can get to at least half of them,” James told reporters after practice Thursday. “But we’ll see. I think every game will dictate it. I will not be playing in Saturday’s game, that’s for sure, in the Bay. But we’ll see after that.”

Lakers coach Darvin Ham offered glowing reviews of James’ performance at training camp.

“He’s 100 percent healthy,” Ham told reporters Wednesday. “He looks fine. He looks like third- or fourth-year LeBron.”

The Lakers and their medical staff will continue to keep close tabs on James, along with Mike Mancias, the star’s longtime medical trainer.

“We collaborate and communicate on what those steps will be,” Ham said. “We make s
ure we come up with an effective plan. The beautiful thing about the way we move forward is one, he’s in phenomenal shape. Two, he’s probably got more years in experience outside of (Anthony Davis) than the entire team combined in terms of games played and minutes played. And he takes phenomenal care of himself.”

Following Saturday’s game, the Lakers play the Brooklyn Nets on Monday in Las Vegas, then face the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday in Anaheim. The team then hosts the Warriors (Oct. 13) and Milwaukee Bucks (Oct. 15) before closing the exhibition season in Palm Springs against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 19. Five days later, the Lakers open the season at the Denver Nuggets.

“Just kind of easing into it,” Ham said of the plan for James. “The fact that our roster is what it is, he doesn’t have to come start the season with his cape on, so to speak. … The help that he has around him will allow him to not have to be full throttle in every practice and every preseason game.”

–Field Level Media

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