LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James is sitting out of the Los Angeles Lakers’ first game since he became the NBA’s career scoring leader.

The Lakers announced Thursday afternoon that James wouldn’t play against the Milwaukee Bucks. James is nursing a sore left ankle that has periodically forced him to miss games this season, including six since November.

James will participate in a pregame ceremony honoring his achievement at the Lakers’ downtown arena, however.

James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387 points late in the third quarter of his 38-point performance against Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. Abdul-Jabbar shared a warm hug and a symbolic moment with James on the court Tuesday, and he will participate in Thursday’s ceremony as well.

The 38-year-old James has missed 12 total games in his 20th NBA season. The fans who spent untold thousands to secure tickets for what they hoped would be the record-breaking game Thursday night now won’t get to see James in uniform at all.

James’ absence and the Lakers’ flurry of trades over the past two days have left them with only eight or nine players in uniform when they face the powerhouse Bucks, who are on an eight-game winning streak.

Los Angeles traded away Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones while acquiring D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Mo Bamba and Davon Reed.

The moves are an attempt to salvage another disappointing year for James and the Lakers, who have foundered at the back of the Western Conference pack all season long with Anthony Davis struggling through his annual injury problems. The 13th-place Lakers fell to 25-30 with their 133-130 loss to the Thunder on James’ historic night.


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