Mar 4, 2013, 11:58 AM EDT
It was just one of those plays — LeBron James was going up for the alley-oop and the Knicks J.R. Smith was playing free safety, watching the ball and going up to swat the play away. They collided and LeBron came down awkwardly on his left leg.
He instantly started to grab for his knee. Thought better of it, stayed down for a second and them walked it off. Actually, more than walked it off he dropped 11 in the fourth quarter to help the Heat beat the Knicks.
Still, any hint of an injury to the best player in the game makes Heat fans nervous. LeBron told ESPN’s Heat Index that he would have it looked at by team doctors but expected to play Monday night against Minnesota.
“I was concerned,” James told the Miami Herald. “I’m still concerned a little bit….
“I was able to finish the game strong but things are always a little worse the next day,” James said. “We’ve got to fly to Minnesota, but I believe I’ll be in the lineup [Monday], though.”
LeBron may play Monday but whether he wants it or not look for coach Erik Spoelstra to get him some nights off the last couple months of the season. Some physical and more important mental rest before the playoffs. The Heat have a comfortable 6.5 game lead in the Eastern Conference now, the question is how hard will they push to catch the banged-up Spurs for the best overall record (Miami is currently two games back). Health and rest matter more — Oklahoma had home court in the finals last year, it didn’t matter.