LeBron James: ‘As long as I’m in the lineup, we’ve got a chance’ after losing JR Smith and Kevin Love

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After J.R. Smith’s thumb injury, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost another starter as Kevin Love will be sidelined for six weeks after an arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. LeBron James, who continues to push the Cavs to upgrade their roster, doesn’t look worried despite the struggle his team is currently facing.

“I’ll rest when I retire,” James said with a heavy dose of defiance in his voice at Tuesday’s shootaround. “As long as I’m in the lineup, we’ve got a chance. We good. Kev is out, Kev is out for an extended period of time. J.R. has been out, but I’m in the lineup. I’ll be suiting up, we’ve got a chance against anybody. I ain’t worried.”

Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue revealed that Love’s left knee has been bothering him for a few games and has started to swell up. After undergoing an MRI, Dr. David Altchek suggested him to have a surgery to remove a “loose body” from Love’s left knee.

The absence of Love and Smith will undeniably have a major effect with the Cavaliers’ goal to defend the title this season. Not only because the Golden State Warriors acquired Kevin Durant, but also because some Eastern Conference teams continue to prove that they have the ability to dethrone the Cavaliers.

So far, the Boston Celtics continue to rise and are currently two wins behind the Cavaliers. Meanwhile, after a sluggish start, the Washington Wizards are now the No. 3 team in East. The Toronto Raptors dropped to No. 5 but the latest acquisition of Serge Ibaka could boost their chance in the upcoming playoffs.

The Cavaliers continue to upgrade their roster with the recent acquisition of Kyle Korver and Derrick Williams. As most people expect, Cleveland will add another playmaker before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. LeBron James already experienced the same situation when he returned to Cleveland.

Tyronn Lue urges everyone to step up

Recalling in the 2015 NBA Finals, James continued to lead the team against the Golden State Warriors even without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. As coach Tyronn Lue said, they don’t need to rush the recovery of their players since their health is the most important.

“Everyone has to step up and fill that void,” Lue said. “LeBron, D-Will (Derrick Williams), Champ (James Jones), Channing. Everyone has to step up and be ready to play. It’s a next man up mentality for our team. No excuses. We know losing a great player like Kevin is tough but we got to man up.”

James trusts his teammates and believes that they can fill the void left by Love and Smith. When asked if he needs to step up, “The King” gave a simple answer, “I’ve never stepped down.”

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

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