<
>

Lakers' LeBron James sits vs. Nuggets with ankle soreness

The Los Angeles Lakers ruled LeBron James out ahead of Monday's game against the Denver Nuggets due to left ankle soreness.

James was originally listed as probable on Monday morning before being downgraded to questionable and then out later in the day.

"You know with LeBron, it's just a daily thing, in terms of how he's feeling," coach Darvin Ham said before the Lakers' 122-109 loss. "He listens to his body. Very responsible in that regard. At the end of the day, we've been playing well, obviously. Again, we don't want to subject our guys to something that a little rest can help in the short term, or force the issue where it turns into a long-term issue. So him sitting out is totally fine."

The news came shortly after James was named Western Conference player of the week after averaging 35 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists in his previous three games. The 18-time All-Star has won the weekly award 66 times in his career, including on five occasions with the Lakers.

James is just 35 points away from joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only members of the NBA's 38,000-point club.

The Lakers, who also lost Patrick Beverley to a right hip injury during Monday's game, had been on a roll of late, winning a season-best five games in a row heading into the matchup against Denver. They are just a game out of 10th place with a 19-22 record at the midway point of the season.

"A lot of where our record is ... is a lot of self-inflicted (wounds). I can immediately ring off about six or seven games that could've went our way that didn't," Ham said. "And so it's the process of constantly trying to sustain what you're doing well. I think our competitive edge, the way we lock down and defend at different moments, our togetherness, the way we share the ball at different moments, our accountability. Guys understanding if it's a breakdown, why the defense broke down or why we didn't get a good look on a particular offensive possession. Acknowledging it and trying to do better."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.