LeBron James plans to play through sore lower back

MIAMI — LeBron James admitted Friday he has been bothered by a sore lower back since training camp.

James first spoke of the back soreness following the Miami Heat’s win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night when he was seen using a heating pad while on the bench.

“It’s stiff, it hurts a little bit, but I’ll get some treatment and see what happens,” James said following the team’s early afternoon practice on Friday.

James said he “felt great” when Thursday’s game began but that changed after diving for a loose ball or later getting bumped during the first quarter.

Saying he planned to play Saturday night against the Boston Celtics at AmericanAirlines Arena, James added it would make sense to sit out if the pain got worse.

“I don’t like to rest — I’ve never been able to rest through anything,” he said. “It’s something I’m planning on continuing to play through. I’ll do the exercises and the treatment to help it get better.

“There’s nothing you can do about it. There’s nothing going on in there that’s structural damage. It’s just that time of year I guess.”

James, who scored 18 points against the Clippers, is averaging 24.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.7 assists through the season’s first six games. He said the best he felt in the opening weeks was Tuesday night at Toronto, where he scored a season-high 35 points.

“We play a very physical sport. Once the season starts, once training camp starts, once you get the first game, you’re never 100 percent again,” Dwyane Wade said. “Different people can take different pain tolerance, pain levels.

“LeBron James’ back has been sore for a while and he’s still on pace, on LeBron James’ pace. He’s a special player. But you do want certain things to not linger and you want to continue to do the treatment and things you need to do.”

James said he has endured back stiffness “off and on, since my third year.”

“I’ve had to sit out second halves of games and things like that because of it,” he said. “This isn’t the worst.”

And when the soreness does flare up?

“Obviously, I’m not as explosive as I (normally) am when it’s not hurting,” he said. “That takes away from it, so I have to switch up my game and do other things.”

During the preseason, James said several times his conditioning was lacking a bit.

“I’m not where I want to be, and I’m going to continue to work at it,” he said Friday. “Like I said, I’ve had back issues before, so I kind of know how to tackle it. But I’m not where I want to be physically.”

Still, he hasn’t missed any of the first six games.

“We just have to see how he feels Saturday, and then go from there,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He was able to play and compete. Guys go through various things during the course of the season. At least right now, thankfully, it’s not something worse.”

Back problems such as what James has endured are nothing new for a veteran such as Ray Allen.

“It is difficult. It’s one of those things that in the beginning it’s a hurdle you have to get over,” Allen said. “Most, all of us get out of the bed and you feel your back is tight. You have to find ways to navigate around it. Sometimes it can be chronic.

“For us, we got to find ways to get in the weight room … (or) like stretching two, three times a day. It can be a pain in the butt — really a pain in the back though.”

Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas