Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James says he was hurting "inside and out" after suffering a right ankle sprain that will keep his sidelined indefinitely.
James vowed to return soon from the high ankle sprain sustained early in the second quarter of the Lakers' home game against the Atlanta Hawks.
An extended absence could shake the NBA's balance of power with the Lakers currently sitting second in the western conference.
James was hurt when he rolled his ankle under Hawks forward Solomon Hill, who was called for a foul as he reached awkwardly for a loose ball.
James fell to the court and screamed, briefly rolling around in obvious pain as he grabbed his ankle.
"Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates!" James wrote on Twitter.
"I'm hurt inside and out right now. The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left."
After being injured, James got up shortly afterward and walked it off during a timeout, retying his shoes and returning to the court.
"I haven't necessarily seen him scream and squall like that, probably ever, not even with that groin," said Kyle Kuzma, who was with the Lakers when James missed 17 games with a groin injury two seasons ago.
"It had to hurt a little bit, for sure."
The 36-year-old James even hit a corner 3-pointer that extended his NBA-record streak of games with at least 10 points to 1,036, but he called a timeout and left the court shortly afterward.
James knocked over a chair in frustration as he went to the locker room, accompanied by the Lakers' training staff and Anthony Davis, who hasn't played since Valentine's Day due to a right calf injury.
Coach Frank Vogel was tight-lipped about the James injury after the Lakers' 99-94 loss.
"The mood of the team is we're disappointed we lost, and we've got to come back and get one tomorrow," Vogel said.
"I won't disclose what LeBron was like (in the locker room). It's in-house."
James is averaging 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists in a commanding 18th NBA season for the defending champion Lakers.
He was playing the final game of a spectacular individual week during the Lakers' four-game winning streak, with back-to-back triple-doubles before a 37-point performance against Charlotte on Thursday.
James has missed only one game this season, sitting out the Lakers' final game before he had to travel to Atlanta for the All-Star break.
The Lakers' next game is on Sunday at Phoenix.