MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James looked groggy, battled the sniffles as he spoke and wore a large bandage Saturday over the bridge of his swollen, broken nose.
None of which stopped James' Miami Heat teammates from ribbing him about the injury, which could keep him out of Sunday's game against Chicago.
"Funny guys on this team, I'll tell you," James said, managing a chuckle.
"We got a couple of big-nose jokes in there," teammate Chris Bosh said.
James sat out practice Saturday, although he shot some baskets and free throws on the side. He said he wouldn't have played if there had been a game, but added he has felt better each day since breaking his nose during Thursday's victory at Oklahoma City.
He hopes to improve enough to play against the Bulls, and his availability will be a game-time decision.
When asked how his nose felt, James said, "It has been better. It's a little bit of everything — pain, headaches, whatever. I have to get past it and hopefully get better in the next day. I'm definitely not going to rush it."
James was to be fitted for a protective mask and will likely wear it if he plays against the Bulls.
"It's nothing you want to make long-term," James said. "It's very uncomfortable."
James knows from experience. He wore a mask for a few weeks 10 years ago, after he broke his cheekbone hours before his 20th birthday in a game for Cleveland against Houston.
James said he doesn't recall missing significant playing time then.
"That was a 19-year-old recovering, compared with a 29-year-old recovering," he said with a laugh. "It takes a little bit longer than when I was 19."