AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami fell completely silent in the fourth quarter of the Heat's 2012 NBA Finals Game 4 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, as LeBron James limped down the court and eventually had to be carried to the bench.
Good news, Heat fans: USA Today's Adi Joseph has confirmed it was just cramping. But there were some anxious moments where it was easy to assume the worst.
UPDATE: Wednesday, June 20 at 3:10 p.m. ET by Tim Daniels
James was able to make it through Heat practice today without any further problems, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Even though there was still some general soreness, he didn't sound overly concerned about his status.
LeBron went thru Heat practice. Said he's still a little sore but feels better than last night. "I'm going to use today to improve my legs."— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 20, 2012
The fact James, the coaching staff and the trainers all decided he made enough progress to practice instead of taking the day off is a telling sign. If there were any worries about a setback, he would have likely sat out today.
As of now, it looks like he will be all systems go for Game 5 as the Heat attempt to close out the series.
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LeBron hit the deck while driving and turned the ball over, and he was slow to get up as the Thunder missed a shot on the other end. He wound up taking the outlet pass and gingerly banked in a contested shot before limping back on defense.
Russell Westbrook missed a jumper, with LeBron playing far off him, which the Heat rebounded. Miami then quickly called a timeout, and LeBron took a seat, grimacing as the broadcast broke for commercial.
ESPN's Rachel Nichols tweeted this out for all of us watching on TV:
For those of you watching a commercial on TV, the Heat trainers just had to pick LeBron James and carry him off the court— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 19, 2012
Trainers quickly went to work rubbing on both of James' legs. It certainly looked like they were dealing with cramping.
LeBron was forced to miss just 55 seconds of action, and he returned to the game and drilled a huge three. He still had a noticeable limp between plays, but it didn't seem to alter his game.
James finished with 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Heat took the 3-1 series lead over Keven Durant and OKC.