NBA: LeBron still sidelined by left ankle injury

LeBron James talks to the media on Sept 25, 2017, in Independence, Ohio.
LeBron James talks to the media on Sept 25, 2017, in Independence, Ohio.PHOTO: AFP

CHICAGO (AFP) - Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James will not play in Friday's (Oct 6) pre-season game against the Indiana Pacers because of a sprained left ankle suffered last week in practice, the NBA club announced.

The move was made as a precaution despite the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player practicing Thursday without any setbacks.

James suffered the injury during a practice on Sept 27 when he stepped on the foot of rookie forward Cedi Osman.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had said Thursday it was possible that James would return to the Cleveland lineup against the Pacers.

Also absent for the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions will be guard Iman Shumpert with a left foot injury, Osman with back spasms and Isaiah Thomas with a right hip injury set to sideline him until the end of the year.

The Cavaliers next play on Sunday at Washington. Their next home pre-season game is Tuesday against Chicago - just one week before the Cavaliers open the regular season at home against the Boston Celtics in Kyrie Irving's return to the city he helped bring an NBA crown in 2016.