Storyline: LeBron James Injury

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James, who has been dealing with a sprained left ankle, participated in shootaround on Tuesday morning in Cleveland, but didn’t speak with reporters and is still listed as questionable for the game. James has been slowed by the injury he suffered in practice on Sept. 27. He played in only one of Cleveland’s five exhibition games, and his absence has kept a starting lineup that now includes Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose from getting much floor time together.
1 month ago via ESPN

There’s no way LeBron James’ sprained left ankle will keep him out of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ regular-season opener against Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics — at least according to JR Smith. “Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said after practice Monday. “He’s going to go, trust me on that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.” Smith’s declaration of James’ status was far more definitive than Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue’s assessment of his superstar’s chances of suiting up after James missed four of the Cavs’ five preseason games with the injury.

The Cavs have lost 11 consecutive regular-season games when James doesn’t play and are just 4-23 without him since he returned to Cleveland in 2014. But these Cavs are set up differently than those teams. Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Jae Crowder are starters. The bench is much deeper. And the Cavs didn’t spend an entire training camp installing an offense in which everything runs through James. In fact, the starters played well throughout training camp without James. “I think we’ll be a lot better off. I think we got a lot of different pieces,” Lue said. “We’re deeper. A lot of versatile players. A lot of different lineups we can play. So, it will be different but I think we have a better chance, yes.”

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Pakan, who serves as team doctor for Kent State University, told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that an athlete who receives multiple back injections in the span of 10 months, generally speaking, is “probably suffering from a degenerative change in his back, to some extent.” Pakan has not treated James and agreed to speak generally about back injuries and injections. But he said that if an athlete such as James needed a third shot “over the next six months, it’s a likely sign of perhaps a small disc degeneration or bulge.” “At that stage, he may need to have something done (surgically), and when you start doing that, it’s never like it was,” Pakan said.
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November 23, 2017 | 2:33 pm EST Update
Tim Hardaway Jr. is making his return to Atlanta at the perfect time, emerging from a career-high 38 points, arriving at Philips Arena on Friday with a team that’s the surprise of the NBA at 10-7. There was early panning of Hardaway’s signing in July, but sometimes you can come back home. Hardaway felt he made the right choice then to leave Atlanta, and he knows it now. “I’m thankful to be back here, man,’’ Hardaway said. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me. I’m happy. I’m excited. This group loves one another. You can see it on the floor we’re playing for one another. The passion is there and we continue to find out identity.’’
The Knicks were still worried they would strike out on another free agent. The Hawks could have matched the offer with Hardaway a restricted free agent. Atlanta passed and the Knicks got shredded for overpaying a player they traded away in 2015 and who had never been a full-time starter. “There was that concern,’’ Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said of the Hawks’ matching. “Tim had started to turn the corner in terms of being a great player. He finished last season having a very, very good second half. We knew that was the beginning. I don’t think there was concern bringing him back. Mills did a great job of figuring out how to get him and what it might take. There was concern Atlanta might match it. When they didn’t, we were very happy.’’
Storyline: Knicks Front Office