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REPORT: Derrick Rose, LeBron James Expected To Play Opening Night In Chicago

The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming into the start of the season banged up and beaten after suffering six losses in seven games and not having Kyrie Irving (knee) and Iman Shumpert (wrist) back due to injuries. Not only that, but LeBron James is expected to play despite his nursing a bad back since the middle of October.

The team they’re facing, the Chicago Bulls, are also pretty banged up with guard Derrick Rose and forward Mike Dunleavy both out. Like Dunleavy, Shumpert will miss the season opener as he is recovering from a back procedure. Derrick Rose’s status for the opener is unknown, but he is expected to suit up for the Bulls despite the facial fracture he had just a few weeks ago during training camp.

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LeBron James, who hadn’t participated in any games or practices since receiving the injection in his back on October 13, was able to practice in full for the first time on Sunday. David Blatt talked about James’ first practice.

“It’s a good sign. It’s a good step,” said Cavs coach David Blatt. “We’ll see how he responds later today and tomorrow, but he did a great job practicing today and hopefully that bodes well for Tuesday.”

The last time James received the shot was in early January for some back pain that he was having. This time around, the shot was used as a preventative measure to try and prevent anything from coming up during the season. James opened up on what exactly he and the training staff meant when they said that James has been sitting out practices to rest.

“It was something that was already planned from the medical staff to the front office to the coaching staff to myself that we would do this,” James said. “When they say, ‘rest,’ it’s not like I’ve just been sitting on my ass for a week and a half. Because I haven’t. I’ve been doing so much strengthening and conditioning and things of that nature. The rest just comes from not being able to be in contact practices and pounding a lot on the floor.

“It was something that was already planned from the medical staff to the front office to the coaching staff to myself that we would do this,” James said. “When they say, ‘rest,’ it’s not like I’ve just been sitting on my ass for a week and a half. Because I haven’t. I’ve been doing so much strengthening and conditioning and things of that nature. The rest just comes from not being able to be in contact practices and pounding a lot on the floor.

“But it’s always been in the works, and if it happens again where I need to sit down for another week for the better of the team, then [that will be] in the works as well.”

David Blatt talked about the possibility of resting James for some of the practices after he played a career low 36.1 minutes per game last season.

“Once the season gets started, we don’t overpractice anyway,” Blatt said. “In the event that it’s necessary and we got to sit him out for a practice or two here or there, we will. Absolutely.”

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LeBron James had a different approach to the idea of sitting out practices.

“I haven’t got to this point by cheating the game,” James said. “If I’m capable of practicing, I will practice, and if I’m capable of playing, I’ll play. When I’m not, I’ll quit. The game has gave too much to me for me to ever cheat the game. That’s not how I was born. That’s not how I was taught.”

The additions of Rose and James to the opening night matchup will only help heighten the intensity of the game, so it’ll be great to have both players back on the floor.

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