Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James doesn't believe that limiting his minutes will prevent his body from getting injured. James played a career-low 33.4 minutes per game last season but still suffered a severe high ankle sprain that caused him to miss 26 games.
"I don't play the game thinking about injuries," James said Monday, ahead of L.A.' s regular-season opener against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. "And I also feel worse when I play low minutes."
James, who is set to turn 37 in December, revealed the ankle injury dragged well into the offseason. "It took a while," he said. "I didn't do much basketball stuff for probably the first two months of the summer, which is very rare for me, because my ankle wasn't responding how I would like it to respond.
"And the best thing about the summertime was I had time. I had time to just really get ready when my ankle was ready to go. I was always training, just wasn't on the basketball court much. Always doing other stuff, training, pushing, seeing if I could do other stuff with my ankle, and until I got to a point where I didn't feel any sharp pains anymore, and my flexibility was back to where it was before.
That's when I knew I could get back on the floor."
The Lakers don't want to keep James for too long on the bench
"Actually in some ways if he stays over there [on the bench] too long and he gets cold, it's worse for him to get back in there [on the court]," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said.
"Especially since he's been playing this type of rotation for so long." James won't play in every regular season but the Lakers will carefully decided on which nights he deserves the rest. "Obviously, it's probably don't want to have him play 82 games," Vogel said.
"But we're not going to pre-script X amount of nights off. We're going to take it as it comes throughout the year." The Lakers suffered a first round exit in the playoffs last season but James has moved past it and is ready for the new season.
"It's definitely a completely clean slate," James said. "And honestly, last year was such a fast-twitch season for us coming off the bubble. And injuries derailed anything that we wanted to do. So it's a great opportunity for us to kind of just rinse our hands and have a clean slate, and get ready to start building."