LeBron practices, says he ‘should be fine’ to play Thursday vs. Knicks

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The Knicks can’t seem to catch a break this season, and it doesn’t look like their luck is about to change in time for Thursday’s contest in Miami against the Heat.

LeBron James missed his team’s win over the Bulls on Sunday with a broken nose, but practiced with the Heat on Tuesday, albeit only participating in the non-contact portions.

He is optimistic, however, about making his return to the lineup for a home game against New York that will be nationally televised.

From Michael Wallace of ESPN.com:

James was off limits during the Heat’s full-contact portions of scrimmage work, so he did not wear a protective mask. But he said he’s been fitted for one and will wear it in games the next few weeks.

“Every day is better,” James said. “It’s getting better, but I haven’t been hit on it, either. It’s too soon, but I think I should be fine enough to go on Thursday. It’s only Tuesday, so we’ve got a lot of time.” …

Having worn a mask earlier in his career to protect a broken cheekbone, James said he’s familiar with the discomfort playing with the contraption on his face.

“It’s a difficult challenge … it feels like something, someone has a hand constantly in your face,” James said. “It’s like an added defender you don’t want.”

It may be a challenge playing with a mask, but James didn’t seem too affected by it the last time he was in that situation.

The Heat are 2-0 without James in the lineup this season, so the Knicks may have more trouble on the horizon regardless of whether or not the reigning MVP takes the floor.