The All-Star forward was injured March 27 during a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. James returned to action last Friday in another game against the Pelicans but was unable to play Sunday against Denver because of soreness.
The Lakers, again playing without James, were eliminated from postseason contention on Tuesday in a loss to the league-leading Phoenix Suns.
James had been on the verge of winning his second NBA scoring title but likely will not since he’s two shy of playing in 70% of the Lakers’ games.
Players can qualify as the NBA’s scoring leader if their point total divided by the minimum-game requirement still leads the NBA. James’ 1,695 points this season divided by the requirement would have him behind the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (30.4).
If the 37-year-old James did win the scoring title, he’d eclipse Michael Jordan as the oldest to win it. Jordan was 35 when he won his last title in 1997-98. James won his first during the 2007-08 season at 30.0 points per game.
James finishes the season with averages of 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists a game while shooting 52.4% from the field and 35.9% from three-point range. All the averages, except assists, and shooting percentages are above his career marks.
The Lakers (31-49), who have lost eight in a row, host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday before closing the season Sunday at Denver.