LeBron James to sit out Lakers-Rockets clash with groin problem

NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers Basketball Houston Rockets

Lakers forward LeBron James has been ruled out of his team's Thursday night showdown with the Rockets.

Western Conference-leading LA cited a sore right groin for James' absence from the contest at the Walt Disney World Resort outside Orlando, Fla.

MORE: Updated playoff standings

James — who endured a difficult first season in Los Angeles after suffering a groin injury on Christmas Day in 2018 — posted 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Lakers' 105-86 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday.

The four-time NBA MVP and three-time champion is averaging 25.3 points, 10.3 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game this season.

James and the Lakers (51-16) have already clinched the top seed in the West as the franchise prepares for its first playoff appearance since 2013.