LeBron James Played Finals with Broken Hand; Injured Punching Whiteboard

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2018

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 31: LeBron James #23 and JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react as time expries in regulation against the Golden State Warriors  in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 31, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers' heartbreaking loss in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals not only dug them an early hole in the series, but it also led to their best player suffering an injury that would affect him the rest of the way.

After the Golden State Warriors finished off a sweep of the Cavs on Friday night, Sam Amick of USA Today reported that LeBron James played the final three games of the series with a "serious bone contusion in his right hand." That injury was suffered when the three-time champion punched a whiteboard after Game 1, per Amick.

James revealed the extent of the injury after Game 4, via NBA TV:


"I let the emotions get the best of me and pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand." - LeBron James #NBAFinals https://t.co/bj1QPDjF9r

It's hard for anyone to blame James for being frustrated by the way Game 1 ended. He did everything he could to lead his team to a victory, posting 51 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. However, that was not enough to beat the Warriors.

The Cavs were in position to steal the opening game on the road, though. George Hill missed the potential go-ahead free throw with 4.7 seconds to play in regulation, and after JR Smith corralled the rebound, he inexplicably dribbled out the clock in a tied game:

Golden State would survive, outscoring Cleveland 17-7 in overtime to pull out a 124-114 victory.

It was clear during the postgame press conference that James was frustrated (with the blunder as well as the officiating), as he walked out on the media:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Bron walked out of the press conference and told the media to “be better tomorrow.” 💀 (via @abc7newsbayarea) https://t.co/LmeRSUCYbl

As it turns out, his frustration boiled over for more than just a presser walkout.

For anyone watching the Finals, there were no obvious signs of injury. While playing hurt, James still averaged 28.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 10.7 assists over the final three games.