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MIAMI – After Thursday's win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat forward LeBron James admitted that he hasn't been his normal self on the court lately due to lower back soreness that's bothered him over the past "couple" weeks.
When James was out of the game, he was seen wearing a heat pack around his torso and lying down, attempting to stretch it out.
James didn't rule out missing time to rest his back in the near future, but it's likely he'll play on Saturday when the Heat host the Boston Celtics.
"If I can't get out of bed, I can't show up here," James said. "If I can't give enough to help us be successful, then I won't play. That's the one thing I know I will do, but it wasn't bad enough [on Thursday] to the point where I couldn't help."
In Thursday's game, James scored a season-low 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the floor along with six assists and four turnovers in a team-high 37 minutes of action.
"It ain't a great feeling, I'll tell you that," James said, "especially at night when I'm trying to sleep."
The Heat are now 4-2 on the season, having won three consecutive games since dropping below .500 for the first time since 2010.
"Obviously he didn't look as spry as he normally does," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. "But he doesn't want me making excuses for him."
It's not the first time James has worn the heating pack during games this season, and he's been working with the Heat's training staff to correct the issue. Though he said he felt fine to start Thursday's game, James indicated that his back "locked up" in the first quarter after he turned the ball over and dove for a loose ball, colliding with Clippers forward Jared Dudley.
"I'm doing everything I can to get back to my normal self," James said after the game. "I've had a history of [back issues], but I always keep a good eye on it."
James has played in all six of the Heat's games this season and heading into Thursday's action had averaged 25.6 points, 8.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the floor.
"The good thing about it," James said, "is that it's not the first time I've had a back issue so I should be all right."