Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James missed the final four games of the preseason after receiving an injection in his back, but returned to the lineup for the team's season opener against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 27.
James Comments on Receiving Injection
Friday, Oct. 16
"LeBron said there are no plans for a second shot during the season, but if he needs one he'll get one. The hope is this will last the year," according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Lloyd previously reported:
James received an injection in his back this week, according to multiple sources, and is unlikely to play again in the preseason. James received a similar anti-inflammatory shot in January when he was shut down for two weeks and responded so well that the plan was always for him to have another one at some point, one league source said. By doing it now, James won't miss any significant time.
An Injury to James Would Cripple Cavs
It would be a devastating blow to one of the best teams in the league if James was forced to miss extensive time, so it was smart of the Cavs to nip any issues with his back in the bud during the preseason.
James is a four-time MVP, widely accepted as the best player in the NBA since Michael Jordan and the nucleus of the Cavaliers offense. He handles the ball, shoots from the outside, works as a post threat, facilitates plays with his passing and frequently guards the opponent's best player in the final minutes of tight games.
James averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 assists and six rebounds per game in 2014-15 for Cleveland and finished third in MVP voting.
It is nearly impossible to envision the Cavaliers winning the title without James, especially since he dragged them to the NBA Finals last season after Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving went down with injuries.
James allows Cleveland to cover up its offensive shortcomings and makes the game easier for his teammates. With opposing defenses devoting so many resources to stopping him, the floor is open for everyone else.