LeBron James ruled out for second half of 2023 NBA All-Star Game with hand injury

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - FEBRUARY 19: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter in the 2023 NBA All Star Game between Team Giannis and Team LeBron at Vivint Arena on February 19, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the first quarter in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game between Team Giannis and Team LeBron at Vivint Arena on Feb. 19, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — During halftime of the 2023 All-Star Game, the NBA announced that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James would not return to the exhibition after he suffered a right hand contusion.

A captain and the leading vote-getter from the Western Conference, James scored 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting and added four assists in 14 first-half minutes of his record-tying 19th All-Star appearance. A three-time All-Star Game MVP, James was squarely in the mix for the award again before the injury.

James caught his fingers on the rim trying to block a Pascal Siakam layup early in the second quarter. The NBA's all-time leading scorer attempted a 3-pointer on the game's next possession and remained on the court for an additional six minutes. He said afterward he avoided serious injury to his shooting hand.

"I tried to get one little chase-down block and got my finger caught in the rim. But I'll be fine. I'll be fine. I don't think it's too much to worry about. For precautionary reasons, I just had to take the rest of the night off."

Fellow captain Giannis Antetokounmpo's team led at the half, 99-92. Team Giannis prevailed, 184-175.

James entered the game still nursing a left foot injury. He missed three games before returning for the Lakers' final outing before the All-Star break and scoring 21 points in 29 minutes of a blowout victory over New Orleans.

"This couple of days [off] has helped, not having to stress it being out on the floor," he said prior to the All-Star Game. "So it's helped. I'm going to try not to go too crazy in the game. I'm going to have some fun, but not go too crazy. The most important thing for me right now is to maintain my health and be available to my teammates after this break, because we have to make a strong push if we want to do anything special."

James called the stretch run "23 of the most important games of my career for a regular season. ... Because I want to make a push to make the playoffs. I don't want to see myself not being part of the postseason for two years straight." His Lakers own a 27-32 record, 13th in the Western Conference.