Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James did not practice Wednesday and was ruled out of Friday’s preseason finale against the Orlando Magic because of a sore left ankle, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told reporters.
Lue also said he was “not sure” whether James would be ready to play in the Cavs’ season opener on Tuesday against Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics.
“Got treatment all day today, so I’m not sure if we should be concerned or not,” Lue said. “But it’s pretty sore today, so we’ll just see what happens.”
James has never missed a season opener in his 14 NBA seasons.
James missed nearly two weeks of training camp after spraining his left ankle on the second day of practice, but he made his preseason debut Tuesday and contributed 17 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes in a 108-94 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Wednesday’s setback did not sit well with the Cavs superstar, Lue said.
“Pretty mad, pretty pissed off,” Lue said of James. “But I mean, it is what it is.”
James hinted after the Bulls game that missing Friday was a possibility.
“I definitely wanted to test it tonight knowing that at least if I tested it tonight, I have a week until the regular season started if I don’t play in the game on Friday,” James said.
New Cavs guard Isaiah Thomas says he still has love for Boston but not for Celtics executive Danny Ainge, who traded him.
Kevin Love told ESPN on Tuesday that it was LeBron James, not head coach Tyronn Lue, who presented him with the news that he was going to be Cavaliers’ starting center.
Lue said JR Smith, who had his starting shooting guard spot go to Dwyane Wade, will return to the first unit in James’ absence.
The Cavs, who shot only 40.5 percent as a team against Chicago, held a long practice Wednesday to try to get their players on the same page with or without James.
“We cleaned it up today and pretty much put in four sets that they will run throughout the course of the game and throughout the course of the season that keeps the floor spread, but it’s continuous action,” Lue said.
Lue said the sets were in his playbook for the Cavs last season, but he had yet to introduce them to this year’s group, which ,features eight new players.
“We’re going to work on it,” he said. “We’re going to continue to keep working on it and I think guys will get it down. They felt more comfortable with it today. We scrimmaged a lot today, and we put it in early. So guys feel more comfortable. We have to keep working at it. It’s something new to us.”
Cleveland also made some minor moves to the end of the roster Wednesday, waiving 7-foot-3 center Walter Tavares and signing 6-4 guard Isaac Hamilton. The Cavs will take a look at Hamilton, who played for the Indiana Pacers’ summer league team, as a potential addition for their G League affiliate, the Canton Charge.