Shorthanded Cavs tell ill LeBron James to skip shootaround

ByDave McMenamin ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James was told to stay home for Wednesday's shootaround prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the Chicago Bulls as he recovers from an illness, according to a team spokesman.

James is considered questionable for the Bulls game, according to the Cavs.

That puts Cleveland's entire Big Three up in the air with Kyrie Irving (right hamstring tightness) and Kevin Love (illness) also considered questionable. Irving participated in shootaround Wednesday while Love reported to the practice session and then was excused from the court. He continues to recover from the food poisoning he suffered over the weekend that caused him to lose 10 pounds, according to Cavs' coach Tyronn Lue.

The undermanned Cavs, already without J.R. Smith (thumb) and Chris Andersen (ACL tear) because of injury, also have Mike Dunleavy listed as questionable because of ankle soreness.

Meanwhile, Tristan Thompson, the league's leader in consecutive games played, will start in his 404th consecutive game for Cleveland.

"Just taking care of my body, just vitamins, rest and (being) lucky," Thompson said. "Shoot, you got to get lucky sometimes in this game to be able to play every night and play at a high level. So, the cards are in my favor, for now."

Thompson, who played in a game after going through food poisoning himself and requiring an about IV 90 minutes before tipoff early on in his ironman streak, marveled at Love's 12-point, 11-rebound effort in the Cavs' 90-82 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

"I told him for him to be able to put up a double-double with food poisoning, that means he's pretty, uh, bleep(ing) good of a player," Thompson said. "Because I couldn't do that."

Should James be unable to play, the Cavs' 4-18 record without him since the start of the 2014-15 season will come into focus again.

"We don't think about it too much," Thompson said of the Cavs' struggles without James. "We just want to approach the game at hand. LeBron is definitely a big part of our team and he's a big focal point in terms of our offense and even defensively he's able to cover for so much of our mistakes. We definitely miss him out there, but at the same time we've just got to go out there and compete and put ourselves in position to win.

"All those games, we've been in close games, but down the stretch we haven't been able to get it done. Hopefully tonight we can take a step in that direction and stay competitive and put ourselves in position to win."

Thompson also said the Cavs would have revenge on their mind with the Bulls in town. The last time Cleveland played Chicago, the Bulls won 111-105 to extend the Cavs' losing streak to a season-worst three games at the time.

"Whenever a team beats you, especially a division rival like the Bulls, you want to go out there and send a message, especially playing at home," Thompson said. "We've been really good at home this year and want to keep that going so that's what we're trying to do."