LOS ANGELES — Amid a renaissance start to the season for both the Los Angeles Lakers as a successful franchise and LeBron James as a dominant player, James says he has no plans to miss games due to load management in anticipation of a postseason run.
“If I’m hurt, I don’t play. If not, I’m playing,” James told ESPN as he knocked on the wooden façade of his locker after the Lakers’ 95-80 win over the Miami Heat on Friday night. “That’s what has always been my motto.”
James, six years Leonard’s senior and coming off the first major injury of his 17-year career last season when he suffered a torn groin, remains committed to suiting up whenever possible.
Both games that Leonard sat out were part of a back-to-back situation, with Leonard playing the other leg.
James did not want to address how his plan differs from that of Leonard, whom the league determined had a legitimate reason to sit out as he continues to manage an ongoing injury to the patella tendon in his left knee.
“LeBron’s healthy, LeBron’ll play. That’s all I’ll talk about,” James said. “I don’t talk about nobody else but me.”
James had 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, with six assists and four rebounds in Friday’s win.
The Lakers, off to a 7-1 start thanks in large part to James’ influence, are schedul