Besides contending with a late-season slump, the Miami Heat may have to face the prospect of a few games without the services of LeBron James. The Heat forward reportedly injured a finger on his non-shooting hand during the Heat's 105-90 loss to Indiana on Monday night.
According to ESPN.com, the finger might be dislocated. James hurt the finger in the first half, but did not have to leave the game. The finger was taped by the trainer at some point, and James iced the finger after the game.
If the report is true, the Heat might have to give James a few games off to recuperate. He is already experiencing some soreness in his elbow. His elbow began bothering him after a collision with Grant Hill during the team's March 20 game against the Phoenix Suns.
Even though the Heat have a tough slate in the next week (including clashes with Dallas, Boston and Philadelphia), it is more important that James take some time to rest his injured appendages before the playoffs get started in late April.
Besides, it's not as if a Heat team with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can't still beat most of its opponents while LeBron nurses his injuries.
The Heat are 3.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls for the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, but they are also 4 games ahead of the Orlando Magic, who have the third best record in the East. Resting James would make it more difficult for Miami to catch up to Chicago (though that statement is debatable if James is not at full strength), but the team has enough of a cushion on Orlando that it can afford to give James some time off - even if it means the Heat might lose an extra game or two without him.
Besides, as the Heat showed last year, winning the top seed in the playoffs is not necessary to get to the NBA Finals.
The Heat did not practice on Tuesday, and have not commented on James' injury.