LeBron James could return to Cavaliers lineup Tuesday to face Suns

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LeBron James has missed the last seven games for the Cavaliers, after multiple injuries forced him to take a couple of weeks off.

It’s been ugly in Cleveland during that stretch, with the team winning just one of its seven games while James has been sidelined.

He’s eager to return, and he may be ready. But the team requires one good practice as part of its injury protocol before a player can come back, so James will go through that Monday in an effort to reappear in the Cavaliers lineup Tuesday in Phoenix.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

LeBron James could return to action Tuesday in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ game against the Phoenix Suns, provided he has a strong practice on Monday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Cavaliers coach David Blatt said he is hopeful James will practice Monday in Phoenix. Two other sources said James definitely will participate. …

James has been eager to return in large part because of the Cavaliers’ other injury woes, sources said. But he’s also adhering to the team’s medical protocol. James must have at least one solid practice before returning to play, one source said.

The recent slide has Cleveland sitting at just .500 in the standings, with a record of 19-19 as we’re almost to the halfway point in the season.

In the Eastern Conference, of course, that’s nothing to worry about as far as the playoffs are concerned. The Cavaliers are currently in sixth place, with a comfortable lead over teams like Indiana and Charlotte, both of whom are nine games under .500 and don’t have the league’s best player returning to action to help turn things around.

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If there’s a bright spot, here, it’s that LeBron was out during a rough stretch of the schedule where most of those losses were likely to occur even if he was available. Teams like Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Golden State all would have been tough matchups for these Cavaliers right now, although the losses in Philadelphia and Sacramento likely could have been avoided had James taken his usual place in his team’s starting lineup.