LeBron James reportedly won’t play in all 82 games, despite his goal
LeBron James recently was asked how many games in which he planned to play during the upcoming arduous grind that typifies an NBA regular season. The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar stated he intended to be on the court for each and every one, simply stating, “82.” Even if James truly hopes to pull off the feat, it appears the Cavaliers have no intention of allowing their superstar to indulge in such fanciful in-season goals.
Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Joe Varndon reports that a source suggested the Cavaliers “remain diligent in their monitoring and concern over James’ health, to the point of plotting areas on the schedule where they could rest him.”
James received an anti-inflammatory injection in his aching back — the third such treatment in 10 months — during training camp and the Cavaliers are wise to alter the course of the season away from what James has envisioned, especially given the fact he has never played in every regular season during his career.
James played in a career-high 81 games during the 2008-09 season — his second-to-last season with the Cavs before he took his talents to South Beach, so it’s not like he’s a fragile player in any sense. But in the seasons that followed, James played the following amount of games in sequential order: 76, 79, 62 (in a lockout-shortened 66-game season), 76, 77 and 69 last season, the least amount of games he has ever played over an 82-game campaign.
As noted in the report, with five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, James has played more minutes over the last five seasons than any other NBA player. The fact that he is nearing 31 years old only exacerbates the wear and tear on a body that has seen a lot of extra miles on its heavily-treaded tires.
There reportedly “are no set-in-stone plans to sit James yet,” but in the end, it makes little sense for the Cavaliers to allow James to play in each and every game, even if he is fortunate to remain healthy enough to do so. A run to an NBA title with their superstar fresh and rested is a far preferable goal.