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LeBron James misses practice, hopes to play against Bulls on Friday

Jan 3, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

Yes, LeBron James is human. Although he’s 7th in the NBA in minutes played per game (38.4), James has played 48 minutes and 42 minutes in his last two games, both overtime wins for Miami.

Today, he earned some well deserved rest and some treatment on his bruised right knee. According to Michael Wallace of ESPN’s Heat Index, James has dealt with soreness in both of his knees for much of the season.

Here’s Wallace with takes from Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra and Dwyane Wade about LeBron’s injury:

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t reveal James’ latest injury during his session with reporters immediately after Thursday’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. But during the final stages of practice that were open to the media, James was seen riding a stationary bike.

James then told reporters he had taken it easy during practice because he was being treated for a knee bruise. Asked if he would play Friday, James said, “I hope so.”

The Heat have also given James and other veterans practice time off and have canceled some workouts altogether. But teammate Dwyane Wade, who has been working his way back from offseason knee surgery, said there are times when he has to force James to stay off his feet when he can.

“We know that he’s been playing constantly for a while, and he doesn’t miss many games,” Wade said. “But you still have to be prepared just in case [he can’t] go, because he does take a beating every night, and he might need [a rest]. I tell him some practice days, ‘Hey man, why don’t you sit down?’ But he doesn’t want to. When it comes to games, I can’t tell him that. He’s not built that way. For him to miss a game, he’d really, really have to be hurt.”

Via Michael Wallace | Heat Index

James has yet to miss a game this year, and he’s been an ironman throughout his career, missing only a few games each season. The question now is whether an upcoming matchup against Chicago will be one of those games. It may be tough to hold James out, for the reasons Wade mentioned above, but it’s probably in the best interest for James to sit out against a team the Heat could very well see in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

There’s a reason some teams prefer not playing at full strength and not running their best sets against conference opponents — so long as they feel confident enough in securing home court advantage anyway. It’s early, but it’s probably safe to say the Heat will get that again this year.

Sitting James essentially amounts to a no-lose move — even if the Heat lose. James gets valuable rest for his knees and the Bulls don’t get as good of a direct look at what the Heat are doing on both ends this season. The Heat aren’t getting a look at what the Bulls look like with Rose, so why not return the favor and sit LeBron?

Even if it is kind of a bummer for the fans and the network televising the game, the biggest obstacle to that plan is probably LeBron James. Like Wade said, if he can go, he’s going to go.

  1. kvvvv2391 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    The NBA season is way too long. It is amazing that more guys don’t get injured just from wear and tear. Then when a team does decide to help their players out with a rest day, you have that idiot David Stern fining them for it. The season should be cut down to 60 games.

    • jhuck92 - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      Maybe the NBA will learn something from this God-forsaken NHL lockout and face out-of-conference teams only twice during shorter seasons.

      • blueintown - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:30 PM

        They already only face out-of-conference teams twice.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        you shouldn’t talk basketball.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      I wonder if someone stole his bike and he couldn’t peddle to practice.
      Why didn’t Bosh pick him up.

  2. jayzus - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Kick him in the nuts!!!!

  3. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Please Spo, let the man show off one if his newest, nicest outfits Friday night. Complete with glass-less glasses. I’m saying lavender will be prominent in the color scheme.

  4. coldyron - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    I’m surprised that elbow “injury” that caused him to shoot free throws left handed when he was with the Cavs hasn’t cropped back up yet.

    • reesesteel23 - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM

      Lol….random…..Who lit your tampon on fire?

  5. clevelandschronic2 - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    I bet dwade ACCIDENTALLY kicked him in the Balls. Soon the heat will release a statement sayin lebrons balls were in the way of dwades foot.

  6. miamatt - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    0% chance LBJ doesn’t suit up.

  7. freemantowilliams - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Better run that by Dave the dictator. Is this a nationally televised primetime game?

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