MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James was one of the last to leave the Miami Heat practice floor Friday, after a long free-throw-shooting contest with rookie Da’Sean Butler.
That was the extent of James’ workout.
The NBA’s two-time reigning MVP sat out practice as a precautionary measure, three days after leaving a preseason game with cramps and pain in his right hamstring. The team expects that James will be ready to resume to practice on Saturday.
“We don’t play until Monday and we’ve got a long, long ways until the 26th,” James said, referring to Miami’s next preseason game against Charlotte on Monday and then the Heat regular-season opener in Boston on Oct. 26. “Don’t want to rush it until I feel 100 percent.”
James cramped up in the third quarter of Miami’s exhibition win over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night, missing roughly the final third of that game and then the entire Heat preseason matchup in New Orleans the following night. Miami did not practice Thursday.
Other Miami players sidelined Friday included guards Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers.
Wade was in Chicago testifying in a trial that’ll decide custody of his two sons, and the Heat hope to have him back at practice next week as he recovers from a strained hamstring. Chalmers has had recurring stiffness as he continues recovering from a high ankle sprain. Wade is expected to continue testimony on Monday, though may resume on-court workouts as early as Tuesday.
Jamaal Magloire, Eddie House, Carlos Arroyo and Shavlik Randolph have also been dealing with some nagging injury issues in recent days.
“We still need to play five-on-five for continunity,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “At the same time, this is a great time for us to regain our health. We need to get guys back feeling good. We have a lot of days to practice but also to get some rest. As long as we’re efficient with it, guys are doing their part, spending a lot of time with our trainers and guys are starting to feel better.”
Spoelstra said House “is real close” to making his preseason debut, after shoulder surgery this summer. House said he’s aiming to get some minutes when Miami visits Atlanta in an exhibition on Thursday.
“We’re going by what the doctors say,” House said. “I’ve been feeling good. It’s just precautionary reasons. You want to be at 3 1/2, four months (after surgery) before you actually start really taking contact. I’m right there, right there at that timeframe.”
House knows the NBA season is a marathon, and he’s been learning plenty about new teammates and the Heat system by watching practices and preseason games. That being said, he still thinks it’s important to get some time before the games start counting in the standings.