LeBron James status for tonight’s opening night contest against the Celtics is up in the air. James is dealing with an ankle injury, and Cavs coach Ty Lue told the Associated Press he does not know whether James will be able to play tonight.
While the Cavs are quiet on James status, his teammates are 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 be surprising if James does 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.
It is unlikely we will have official word on James’ status for tonight until about an hour before tip-off. Unofficially, fans can expect James to play tonight, but nothing is certain until we see James take the floor.
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.