LeBron James will be missing again for the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday as he nurses a sore right ankle.
Four-time NBA MVP James started the Lakers' first three games of the season, averaging 26.0 points in 38.0 minutes as his team made a rocky 1-2 start.
But the 36-year-old suffered the injury in a first win of the year against the Memphis Grizzlies and was absent for Tuesday's overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Malik Monk made his first Lakers start in James' place and scored 17 points.
The former Hornets guard, who only started one game in four years in Charlotte, is now set to be included in the line-up again versus the Oklahoma City Thunder with James officially ruled out.
The Lakers could also be without Anthony Davis, listed as questionable against the Thunder after hurting his knee against the Spurs.
These early injuries will concern LA, given James and Davis played just 45 and 36 games respectively in 2020-21 as the Lakers failed to build on their 2020 Finals success.
James played just 42.9 per cent of possible minutes for the Lakers in the regular season last year, the lowest rate of his career and only the second season in which he has dipped below the halfway mark – also 48.9 per cent in 2018-19, his first season as a Laker.
It was a high ankle sprain that caused James the most trouble, but coach Frank Vogel assured reporters this latest issue is not related.
"Same ankle, different spot, different injury," he said.
The Lakers will at least hope to be able to cope without their key men against the Thunder, who are facing a third 0-5 start in franchise history (also 2007-08, 1969-70).
OKC are 2-27 in their past 29 games dating back to last season, when they were swept by the Lakers.