LeBron James did not practice with the Miami Heat on Tuesday because of a sprained left ankle, leaving his availability for Wednesday night’s matchup against the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers in some doubt.
James got hurt during Monday’s win over Utah. He was able to finish that game, though woke up with soreness on Tuesday, which he expected.
"I’ve had my fair share of ankle twists so I already knew how it was going to be today," James said. "Very stiff, very sore, it’ll be around the clock treatment with Mike (Mancias, his trainer) and we’ll go from there."
James said if the Heat were playing on Tuesday, he would not be in the lineup, "for sure." It’s not uncommon for him to heal from sprains quickly, however.
"I’ve had extreme to not so extreme," James said. "We’ve been through this and we know how to attack it."
James rolled the ankle inward while dribbling late in the third quarter against the Jazz. He re-laced his sneaker, which is his typical method of treating ankle turns in order to minimize the opportunity for fast swelling, but left the game shortly afterward and spent about seven minutes on the Heat bench.
Once he returned, James showed no ill effects, finishing off a 30-point, nine-rebound, nine-assist night.
"It’s not the first time he’s gone through it with that ankle," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Lot of treatment, lot of rest, see how he feels."
James is averaging 25.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists and has appeared in all 24 Heat games this season.
The Heat will enter Wednesday two games behind Indiana in the East standings, and lost in Indianapolis last week in the first of four meetings this regular-season against the rivals.
"It’s a basketball game versus two good teams," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "A lot of that goes on in the NBA. It’s not our championship."