LeBron James missed this past Sunday's game with a broken nose but he's hoping to return on Thursday for the Miami Heat's game against the New York Knicks, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Sunday's game was James' only second such miss of the year and he would rather not miss a third one. While the All-Star wouldn't commit to playing, he made it known that as of now he thinks it should be possible.
"I feel like I should be well enough to go Thursday, but we'll see," James told the Sun Sentinel.
When James does return, he will wear a mask to protect his broken nose from further injury. This is commonplace with broken noses and other facial injuries in the NBA. James himself had to wear a mask in 2005 when he fractured a cheekbone while with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I'm definitely wearing a mask if I play Thursday," James added while speaking with the Sun Sentinel.
James plans to wear the mask during practice on Wednesday to become more accustomed to it according to the Sun Sentinel report. Despite playing with one nine years ago, James could find himself needing a few games before he is used to wearing the mask again.
If James is unable to go on Thursday, it is possible that Mario Chalmers will once again see an increased role as he did on Sunday. Greg Oden would also be a possibility to make a second consecutive start as that formula produced a win against the Bulls.
Thursday's game will be the second of a four-game homestand for the Heat and the team currently is sitting on a five-game winning streak. The Heat have also closed the gap on the top seed in the Eastern Conference to only one game. The Indiana Pacers continue to hold the top slot but have two games remaining on the year against the defending NBA champions.