LeBron James says he’ll play in season opener if ‘everything goes right’
One day after Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt insisted LeBron James is “fine” after receiving an anti-inflammatory injection in his back during training camp, the superstar played coy with the media Friday regarding his potential availability for next week’s season opener.
James said “I don’t think there’s a question” he’ll be in the lineup come next Tuesday when the Cavaliers take the floor against the Chicago Bulls at United Center. But he qualified that comment by stressing whether or not he plays has nothing to do with how he’s approaching the situation.
“I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket, thinking of Tuesday as the end all, be all,” James told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “It’s a long season. I’m preparing Tuesday as if I’ll be ready, and if I have a setback then I won’t be ready.”
James has yet to practice since receiving the injection on Oct. 13 and, much like general manager David Griffin previously indicated, suggested the timing of everything is all part of the plan to have him ready for the season.
“Is it by choice? No, that’s the schedule I’m on,” James said. “I’m trying to listen to the training staff and not be hard headed. So, I’m going with them. When they tell me I’m cleared to practice, I’ll practice.”
James also indicated he’ll play against the Bulls if “everything goes right,” but nothing he said Friday reveals exactly what the plan is for him in the coming days regarding practice, etc.
“We feel like everything is progressing well, and if we continue to do that, then I’m optimistic I’ll be able to go,” he added.
James previously indicated that the Cavaliers won’t “be able to play at a high level” at season’s start due to injuries and other factors. Now that Tristan Thompson is back in the fold and Kevin Love looks good to go — Kyrie Irving’s absence notwithstanding — perhaps James’ health at this stage should be the biggest source of concern.