League sources told ESPN and The Athletic that James aggravated his ankle injury during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 121-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday at Staples Center. He was held out of the lineup for the final seven minutes of that contest after experiencing soreness in the ankle.
The 36-year-old James will now have three days of rest before the Lakers' next matchup, which comes Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers. He previously missed six weeks with a high ankle sprain before returning to the lineup Friday versus the Sacramento Kings.
"You never know until you get out there because some of the sharp pain that I'm feeling, or the pain that I'm feeling on the floor, I didn't have during my workouts, during my training," James said when asked whether he rushed his return. "So the only way to test [the ankle] is to get out on the floor.
"For one, there ain't no damn practice time. It's not like when you get practice time you get 5-on-5, you get lives, this is not the season for it. We've known that since the beginning. The only opportunity for me to get some live was during the game. I don't want to say I came back too early, but at the end of the day I had to test it out and see where I was at."
The Lakers (36-28) have dropped six of their last seven games. They currently hold the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference standings.
In 43 games this season, James has averaged 25 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.8 assists.