Storyline: LeBron James Injury

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According to a person with knowledge of the situation, James — who was briefed on the latest media reports shortly before coming to the podium — would not have worn the cast if his injury had not already been reported. His teammates and coaches all knew what had happened, and it’s a wonder how it didn’t come out sooner. It’s also unclear if James or his associates would have shared the news at a later time, but there were no plans to pull the curtain back that night. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
4 months ago via ESPN

On Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), James will play in his 70th consecutive game as he chases the first season in which he plays in all 82 games. Back in 2015, however, James was laying on the court during timeouts, propped on a towel in discomfort. It brought to mind Larry Bird and Steve Nash, all-time greats who saw their careers zapped in their 30s because of back issues. James needed two anti-inflammatory injections in his lower back in a 10-month span in 2015, one shutting him down for two weeks midseason and another wiping out his preseason. And the possibility was left open that he might need more numbing shots, an indication he was dealing with something serious.
4 months ago via ESPN

Raimon was a SEAL for 15 years and became a disciple of biomechanics when he used the science to help himself to get over a severe neck injury suffered during a parachute jump that Navy doctors struggled to heal. He purposely avoids the spotlight and doesn’t do interviews. James generally doesn’t speak about Raimon or his techniques, and he credits the Cavs training staff with working to keep him in the best shape. “Between Donnie and Mike, it’s a great one-two punch,” James said.
4 months ago via ESPN

Seeing him turn his ankle nearly 90 degrees only to tighten his shoelaces and finish with a triple-double. Watching him show up four hours before a playoff game to get in a sweat-soaked workout, then play more than 40 minutes and score 40 points. And the topper: the time James gained seven pounds during an Eastern Conference finals game. Some Miami Heat teammates saw the scale and attest to it in amazement. James himself just shrugs and calls it “weird as hell.” The truly wild part is that it was from 271 pounds to 278 pounds, though James is much lighter these days.

It isn’t supposed to work this way. He could’ve easily gone the path of Larry Bird, whose crippling back problems left him flat on the floor during much of his last season before finally forcing him out of the league at age 35. But through his training methods, James acknowledges now he believes he has unlocked the key to staving off career-threatening concerns. 15. He has long been hesitant to share his training methods because he doesn’t want anyone to steal them, but he can’t remember the last time he needed an anti-inflammatory injection in his back and he continues to play the best basketball of his career.

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.
9 months 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.
More HoopsHype Rumors
July 17, 2018 | 10:32 am EDT Update
According to sources, Okafor, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, worked out for four teams last Wednesday in Las Vegas, and remains hopeful of signing with a team ahead of training camp next fall. Okafor averaged 17.5 points per game as a rookie in Philadelphia in 2015-16. He has spent the last few months working out in Miami with trainers David Alexander and Idan Ravin, fueling speculation that he could land with the Heat, especially if Miami finds a trading partner for Hassan Whiteside.
Storyline: Jahlil Okafor Free Agency
These are the real boys of summer, the grinders using the 12-day audition in the desert to impress NBA executives enough to earn the honor of an invitation to training camp. Take Cooley, 27, the unofficial dean of NBA Summer League stars. This is Cooley’s sixth stint in Vegas. He’s a member of the Phoenix Suns now, a teammate of Ayton’s. Before that he was a Sacramento King, setting screens for De’Aaron Fox, and before that a Cleveland Cavalier, throwing outlet passes to Andrew Wiggins. For Cooley, this was never a dream. In 2009, he chose Notre Dame, not for a springboard to the NBA, but because it had a top business school. “I used basketball to get the best education,” Cooley said.
Storyline: Jack Cooley Free Agency
There’s Justin Harper, with the New York Knicks. Casper Ware, with the Portland Trail Blazers. Brady Heslip with the Memphis Grizzlies. There are no paychecks for playing in Summer League. There’s per diem, around $100 per day. There’s a hotel room, two-hour practices, daily bus rides and no guarantee of playing time. “It’s a grind, man,” Machado said. “Every time you come out to Summer League, everyone is trying to prove themselves. Me, trying to facilitate, sometimes you overthink it. Every time you come back, you think, ‘Man I did this already.’ It’s a constant grind and constant pressure you put on yourself.”
As Summer League winds down, most of the boys of summer will disperse. Some will sign on with G League teams, to maximize exposure. Others will ink European contracts, where the money is better. They will ride buses to small towns in the U.S. or live in isolation in far-flung cities around the world. They will do it, and they will hope for an invitation back to Las Vegas next summer, for the opportunity to impress once again. “There’s only about 1% of me that thinks about not playing,” Cooley said. “This life is pretty intense. But I love it, I’m glad it’s not easy. Not playing would be a terrible itch that I wouldn’t be able to scratch. I know once the time comes, I will definitely be a part of the game, because I’ll go crazy if I go cold-turkey out of basketball. But right now, I’m a player. The body of work I have put together has caused a pretty good stir here. I believe I’m an NBA player. I believe I can play in the league for a long time.”
Storyline: Jack Cooley Free Agency