LeBron James is expected to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ lineup against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, while Antawn Jamison will be a game-time decision. They were just two of six players to miss practice Wednesday for the Cavaliers, who took advantage of a break in the schedule to rest all five of their regular starters.
James missed two games after twisting his right ankle last Friday against Detroit, but is likely to play at Philadelphia, Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. James has played the sixth-most minutes in the league this season, averaging 39 per game.
Jamison won’t practice the rest of the week after revealing Wednesday he has a cyst behind his left knee that is filled with fluid. Shaquille O’Neal continues to rehab following surgery on his right thumb, while Anthony Parker and Mo Williams also took Wednesday off to rest nagging injuries. Key sub Anderson Varejao also missed practice, but it wasn’t clear if he had an injury or just took the day off.
All are expected to play Friday except for O’Neal and perhaps Jamison. An MRI earlier this week showed no damage to the knee and Jamison said it’s the same injury that hampered him early in the season when he was with Washington.
"Perfect timing for something like this to happen," Jamison said, referring to the three days off between games. "This organization is looking at the overall picture to make sure guys are healthy when it counts."
Even if Jamison doesn’t play Friday, he insists he’ll be back on the floor Sunday when Cleveland hosts Atlantic Division leader Boston.
He said the cyst is a product of his mechanics and the way he runs. There are certain exercises he must do to keep the knee flexible, but admitted he hadn’t done as much maintenance on it lately because of the trade to Cleveland and trying to get settled in a new city.
"They want me to relax and let it calm down this week," Jamison said. "It feels pretty good. It’s something that occurred earlier in the season. With proper treatment, it went away, so I don’t see this lingering any longer than it has the last couple of days."