LeBron James aggravates ankle injury; doubtful for opener against Boston Celtics

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said the four-time MVP, LeBron James, is sore and has been ruled out of Cleveland's final preseason game Friday night in Orlando.

By: AP | Cleveland | Published:October 12, 2017 9:09 am
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics, Tyronn Lue, Kyrie Irving LeBron James wanted to play even though he wasn’t at full speed. (Source: AP)

LeBron James won’t play again this preseason, and there’s a chance he’ll miss Cleveland’s hyped opener with Boston. James didn’t practice Wednesday, a day after he made his exhibition debut after being slowed by a sprained left ankle sustained September 27. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said the four-time MVP is sore and has been ruled out of Cleveland’s final preseason game Friday night in Orlando.

As for James’ status for Tuesday night’s game against the Celtics and former Cavs All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, Lue was non-committal.

“Not sure,” Lue said. “Got treatment all day today, so I’m not sure if we should be concerned or not. But it’s pretty sore today so we’ll just see what happens.” Lue said James is upset that his ankle is still an issue.

“Pretty mad, pretty pissed off,” Lue said “But I mean, it is what it is.” James did not speak to reporters following Wednesday’s practice.

He aggravated his ankle Tuesday night against Chicago as the Cavs unveiled a new starting lineup featuring James, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder and Kevin Love. James scored 17 points and had eight turnovers, but the defending Eastern Conference champions fell to 0-4 and it’s apparent their new lineup is going to need a lot more time together. There were few sparkling moments as the group was mostly out of sync.

Lue said J.R. Smith will rejoin the starting lineup while James is out and guard Jose Calderon will enter the rotation. For now, James’ injury will prevent the Cavs from working out their offensive kinks. Lue said he’s had to alter some plans already.

“It’s a challenge when you’ve got a new team and you want to incorporate stuff, but you don’t want to go too fast, you don’t want to go too slow,” he said. “You want to see what works. So we kind of scrapped some of the stuff we’ve been doing and we’re going to just go in a different direction offensively with that first unit.”

James wanted to play even though he wasn’t at full speed. Following the game, he hinted that he might need more time off. “I definitely wanted to test it tonight knowing that at least if I tested it tonight, I have a week until the regular season started if I don’t play in the game on Friday,” he said.

The 32-year-old James has never missed an opener in 14 seasons, and this one has some special sizzle. Irving demanded to be traded during the summer and he and James have taken some shots at each other in the past two months.

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