Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James acted like he tore his ACL and didn't miss one second of play

Alex Reimer
May 26, 2018 - 8:00 am

It looked like LeBron James tore his ACL. With 8:28 remaining in the fourth quarter Friday, Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. fell on James’ right leg while attempting to contest a shot by Jayson Tatum. James limped to the ground, clutching his knee and withering in pain. 

He didn’t miss a single second of play. 

James was explosive in Cleveland’s 109-99 Game 6 over the Celtics, putting up 46 points with 11 rebounds and nine assists. He played almost the entire fourth quarter, not checking out until there were 57 seconds left on the clock.

It was another miraculous recovery for James. In Game 2, he hobbled to the locker room after taking a shot from Tatum in the jaw late in the second quarter. James returned to the court in roughly 90 seconds of game time. 

"I just felt someone fall into my leg and my leg kind of went in," James told reporters after the game Friday, per ESPN. "I felt some pain throughout my entire right side of my ankle into my leg. I was just hoping for the best, obviously, because I've seen so many different injuries, and watching basketball with that type of injury, someone fall into one's leg standing straight up. Luckily, I was able to finish the game.”

It didn’t look like James was struggling physically in the fourth. He scored 12 points after the contact. 

It’s cliche to rail against NBA stars for appearing to exaggerate injuries. Many of them do it. And any Celtics fan who applauded Paul Pierce’s wheelchair stunt in the 2008 NBA Finals loses the moral high ground when it comes to mocking James for his apparent acting jobs. 

But still, James' performance Friday was a bit comical. Given how well he played afterwards, it's just not believable he suffered any sort of injury that warranted his "gasping for air on the ground" routine. That is, unless James is completely invincible. 

“I think (James) might have just banged his knee, but other than that, he's fine,” Cavs coach Ty Lue said afterwards.

Sounds about right. 

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