LeBron James: Cavs won’t ‘be able to play at a high level’ at season’s start
It was reported Friday morning that LeBron James received an anti-inflammatory injection in his back and won’t play for the rest of the preseason. When speaking with the media later, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar conceded that it will be difficult for the team to play at its fullest potential when he and other members of the team coming back from injury return to the lineup.
“I don’t think we will immediately be able to play at a high level because we have so many guys out,” he said. “I don’t think our chemistry is where it needs to be to start the season off.
“I think as we get guys back into the flow of things, guys come back off of injury and we’re able to put the time in on the practice floor, I think we’ll be a much better team.”
The Cavaliers have had a training camp and exhibition season to forget. Not only has the team played without rehabbing stars Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and Iman Shumpert, it is also has had to navigate Tristan Thompson’s holdout.
Love is expected to play in his first preseason game on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, a game in which Cavaliers head coach David Blatt confirmed James would not play. The other members of the Cavaliers’ walking wounded, specifically Shumpert and Irving, are expected at this stage to return at points much further down the road than the Oct. 27 opener against the Chicago Bulls.
Concerning the injection James received in his back, Cavaliers general manager David Griffin confirmed Friday morning that he received it Tuesday. James said it was the plan all along to receive the treatment at this stage. The team hasn’t ruled out James playing in Monday’s exhibition, though.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers sit at 0-5. James earlier this week insisted he wasn’t frustrated by the team’s 0-3 start. Odds are good he isn’t frustrated about being 0-5, either. But his comments Friday arguably indicate the team is nowhere near the point he hoped it would be with less than two weeks before opening night.