LeBron James has been diagnosed with knee and back strains, injuries that are expected to keep him sidelined for the next two weeks and add to an already rocky time for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs said Thursday that James will be treated with “anti-inflammatories, rehabilitation, training room treatments and rest.”
The four-time NBA MVP was examined on Wednesday, when the problems with his left knee and lower back were confirmed. James has never missed more than five straight games in his professional career; if the two-week timetable released by the team Thursday holds up, his absence could reach 10 games or more.
James has missed Cleveland’s past two games, and the Cavs are on a three-game losing streak. They play in Charlotte on Friday, host the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday (noon, FSSW), visit Philadelphia on Monday, are back home to meet Houston on Wednesday — then head out for a five-game road trip against Western Conference clubs.
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“There’s not going to be too much on the court for me right now,” said James, who has the league’s second-best scoring average this season at 25.2 points.
It’s a tumultuous time for the Cavaliers, who are still dealing with the aftereffects of losing center Anderson Varejao for the season. They’ve looked both brilliant and baffling at times in James’ first year back with the club after his four-year stint with the Miami Heat.
And if he misses extended time, as it appears will be the case, the Cavs’ season will likely only be more tested.
James briefly left Cleveland’s game at Miami on Christmas Day after jumping into the stands to chase an errant pass, and was grabbing at his left knee in obvious discomfort not long afterward.
That was not the cause of the injury, just a recurrence of an ongoing issue, James said Wednesday before Cleveland played at home against Milwaukee.
“It was before that, but it reaggravated it,” James said. “It’s been hurting pretty much all year. I’ve been playing with it and it goes away, it comes back. The one in Miami kind of reaggravated it.” Including playoffs, James has logged 41,082 NBA minutes — ninth-most among all active players.