NBC Sports’ A. Sherrod Blakely reported LeBron James will play tonight against the Celtics. James is dealing with an ankle injury, and Cavs coach Ty Lue had told the Associated Press he did not know whether James would be able to play tonight.
His teammates were more optimistic that King James will be on the floor tonight. J.R. Smith told Cleveland.com that James will play tonight.
“Oh, he’s gonna go,” Smith told Cleveland.com. “He’s gonna go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s gotta do, he’s gonna play…It’s different when — obviously the preseason and regular season — we were talking about it, he’s never missed, since he was eight years old and he started playing, he’s never missed a first game. I’m preparing for him to play.”
Even if James plays tonight, it does not mean he is not dealing with a serious injury. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst called it “the most significant ankle injury of his [LeBron James] career.”
It would have been surprising if James did not suit up tonight. It is an opening night matchup, and it happens to be against another Eastern Conference contender in the Celtics. To add even more intrigue into tonight’s contest, his former teammate, Kyrie Irving, will make his Celtics debut. Rumors continue to swirl that Irving and James were not on the best of terms.
At the very least, Irving was tired of being in James’ shadow, and wanted the opportunity to be the leader of a team.
The Cavs start the season with uncertainty around James’ future in Cleveland as he can opt-out of his deal after this season, and become a free agent.