LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James’ first season with the Lakers is over.
The team announced Saturday he would sit out the remainder of its games, allowing him more time to rest the first significant injury of his career.
“After consulting with our team doctors and medical staff, we have decided to hold LeBron out of games for the remainder of the season,” the team said in a statement attributed to President Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka. “This decision will allow his groin to fully heal, and is best for the future success of both LeBron and the Lakers.”
The Lakers added that James would accompany the team on its upcoming trip to New Orleans and Oklahoma City.
James was hurt in a victory over Golden State on Christmas and in his 16th season was forced to miss substantial time after being largely healthy since coming into the NBA as the first pick in the 2003 draft. He sat out 17 games before returning on Jan. 31, and the Lakers were unable to recover and make the playoffs.
They are 34-42 after beating Charlotte 129-115 on Friday, with James scoring 27 points in what turned out to be his final appearance.
It’s the first time James won’t play in the postseason since 2005, when he was in his second NBA season with Cleveland. He had appeared in the last eight NBA Finals.
James averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists in 55 games.