Lakers prepared for LeBron James to miss multiple games with groin strain

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Team doctors officially diagnosed James with the injured groin after an MRI exam on Wednesday.

The Lakers said the surgery was a success but Rondo still has four to five weeks of rehabilitation to go.

"We are obviously not going to rush him back", said Walton, speaking during the Lakers' practice on Thursday morning.

James, who remained in Los Angeles while his teammates flew to Sacramento, has played in every game since the final game of the 2016-17 regular season, when he sat out to rest. Walton confirmed ahead of the game that JaVale McGee would also be not playing Thursday, which would see Ivica Zubac retain his place in the starting lineup.

While Tyson Chandler is now battling a sore back, Zubac had a strong run before cooling off Thursday against the Kings. He shot 12-of-24 from the field, 2-of-8 from the 3-point line and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. Ball had started to hit a bit of a stride, but following Rondo's return from a previous hand injury saw his minutes and production take a big hit. Brandon Ingram scores 22 and Lonzo Ball almost records a triple-double with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists.

In the Lakers' next game against the Clippers on Friday, our models project Ball for 28.5 FanDuel points.

As for Stephenson and Ingram, both players should benefit from expanded roles.

But his games-played streak will end anyway. The 21-year-old has flashed upside at various points throughout his young career. But the Lakers struggled down the stretch and lost their fourth in six games.

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