Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James will be sidelined for two weeks with left knee and lower back strains, the team announced Thursday.
James underwent an evaluation at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health that included an exam by team physician Richard Parker, radiographs and a MRI.
“These conditions will be treated via a multimodal approach consisting of anti-inflammatories, rehabilitation, training room treatments and rest,” the Cavs said in a statement. “LeBron is currently projected to be out for the next two weeks.”
James sat out his second consecutive game on Wednesday night with the sore knee and the Cavs lost 98-80 at home to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The recently turned 30-year-old James was hoping to return Friday for a game against the Charlotte Hornets or Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. He said Wednesday that he wasn’t concerned about the knee being a season-long issue.
“It’s been hurting pretty much all year,” James said Wednesday. “I’ve been playing with it and it goes away and comes back. … All the tests and everything I’ve done with the doctors, everything has come back negative.”
James also answered questions about his long-term commitment to the Cavaliers by saying he’s there to stay.
“I’m here to build something great in the present and in the future, and that’s the reason I’m back,” James said before the game. “I got no other reason to have to continue to talk about things that’s so outlandish. I’m here. This is where I’ll be, and this is where I’m comfortable at.”
James went on to discuss a video showing him conversing with former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade before the Cavaliers’ loss to Miami on Christmas Day and saying they would get back together.
“I’ve seen the clip just like you’ve seen the clip,” James said. “I don’t know exactly what I said at the beginning, either. I know I said, ‘We’ll get back together and do some bigger and better things,’ but it had nothing to do about basketball. I mean, if I was going to tell him that, I’d tell him the night before. Come on, guys. I’m not stupid. I know I didn’t go to college, but I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t say that on Christmas with a hundred cameras around. I would have told him the night before at his house.
“But, it’s just me, so I get it. I get it. But it had nothing to do with leaving here and reuniting with him. It had everything to do with just talking about other things more than just basketball. Everybody gets so involved in basketball, our friendship, obviously, you guys know, is bigger than basketball. So, you know, our last four years couldn’t be bigger and better even if we did get back together. But, whatever. It’s crazy.”
Cavs coach David Blatt also believes James will remain loyal to northeast Ohio.
“I know why LeBron James came back to Cleveland, and I know what his commitment is to this team and to his teammates,” Blatt said. “And I also know exactly what he wants to do here.”
James does admit that the Cavs’ slow start this season is frustrating. Cleveland has an 18-14 record and has lost three of the past four games. Now the team will be forced to play without him for the next two weeks.
“My tolerance for patience is not that great, and it’s something I knew I had to work on,” James said. “Especially coming here, it’s going to be the biggest test of my career just being with a bunch of young guys and helping them understand what it means to have a professionalism and a work ethic every single day, so that’s been testing and I understand that.”
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