LeBron James was back to full-contact practice for the first time since taking some rest after another anti-inflammatory back injection.
In January, in the midst of the 2014-15 NBA regular season, James received a similar shot when a strained left knee and back pain were affecting his game. As Fox Sports noted, LeBron James missed about two weeks of action at that time as well. In his first season back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron returned from the injection and rest to lead the team that drafted him in 2003 to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors.
However, LeBron and the Cavs are being preventative this time around. As reported by ESPN, it was a decision that LeBron James and the whole Cleveland organization were in on. Everyone knew the plan, “from the medical staff to the front office to the coaching staff to myself,” James told reporters. They knew it could be an issue going into the season, so LeBron decided to take the injection and a bit of rest just before the season began.
And while he may have been “resting” since October 13, James hasn’t been taking it easy. “It’s not like I’ve just been sitting on my a** for a week and a half,” LeBron continued. “Because I haven’t.” King James has been busy with conditioning and strength-training. The only “rest” he’s received is a break from full contact at practice. LeBron knows that he can’t get Cleveland’s first NBA championship without hard work.
“I haven’t got to this point by cheating the game,” James said. “If I’m capable of practicing, I will practice, and if I’m capable of playing, I’ll play. When I’m not, I’ll quit. The game has gave too much to me for me to ever cheat the game. That’s not how I was born. That’s not how I was taught.”
Although no promises were made when LeBron was given the injection on October 13, CBS Sports confirmed that the Cavaliers fully expect James to play against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. And LeBron James isn’t the only big name from Tuesday’s game that has had health concerns. That includes the biggest star on Chicago’s squad, and two of James’ teammates.
All-Star point guard Derrick Rose will be leading the Bulls against LeBron James and the Cavs. After surgery last month to repair a left orbital fracture, it appears as though Rose has made a full recovery. A match-up between LeBron James and Derrick Rose is exactly the kind of big-name rivalry that everybody wants for the first game of the season. Last year, the Cavaliers were 3-1 against the Bulls during the regular season. LeBron and the Cavs eliminated Rose and the Bulls from the post-season when they beat them 4-2 in the Eastern conference semi-finals.
Although LeBron will be back on Tuesday, he has two key teammates that will still be on the bench. James’ fellow NBA All-Star, Kyrie Irving, won’t be suiting up with LeBron for their contest against Chicago. He’ll still be recovering from surgery on his broken knee cap. Iman Shumpert is another Cavalier that won’t be joining LeBron for opening day. It will be two months before he’s able to return from his wrist injury.
LeBron James and the Cavaliers kick off the 2014-15 NBA season on Tuesday, October 27 in Chicago. Their game against the Bulls is scheduled to begin at 8:00 EST and will be airing on TNT.
No word on whether or not Blaze Pizza was a part of LeBron James’ recovery routine.
[Image credit Jason Miller/Getty Images]