The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be without one of their superstars when they host the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night at Staples Center.
LeBron James did not practice with the team on Saturday, and was listed as doubtful with a thoracic muscle strain.
James has not missed a game all season, and is having a revitalized year after missing the playoffs last season. James is averaging 25.8 points, 10.6 assists and 7.5 rebounds at the age of 34.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel addressed the media after practice on Saturday, and told reporters that James suffered the injury in the team's 105-102 loss against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
The Lakers are looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season after suffering their first back-to-back losses against the Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Ironically, James recently spoke out about "load management," and missing games. When asked if he would follow the Los Angeles Clippers' system of resting Kawhi Leonard throughout the season, James said defiantly: "If I'm healthy I play."
"I mean, I don't know how many games I got left in my career," continued James. "I don't know how many kids that may show up to a game and they're there to come see me play and if I sit out, then what? That's my obligation.
James' comments prompted a small war of words between the Lakers and rivalry Clippers as head coach Doc Rivers responded by saying that the Lakers load management strategy is, "Whatever LeBron says it is."
"It's our philosophy," Rivers said about resting Leonard throughout the season. "I don't know what theirs [the Lakers] are. I think theirs is whatever LeBron says it is, to be honest. That makes a lot of sense to me. I like what we are doing, and I think it's the smart thing to do. Who knows? We'll see at the end."
The Lakers defeated the Nuggets, 105-96, earlier this month in Denver, but they will certainly have their work cut out for them without LeBron on Sunday. James has led the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference and created a formidable dynamic duo with Anthony Davis.
The Lakers are currently 24-5, and hold a four-game lead over the Nuggets (19-8) in the Western Conference. Hopefully, James will be ready to go for the team's highly anticipated showdown with the Clippers on Christmas Day.