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LeBron James out against Hawks after injuring himself jumping into Miami crowd

LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Cleveland. The Pistons defeated the Cavaliers 103-80. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

AP

Happy birthday, LeBron.

You’re getting old.

The 30-year-old LeBron James, who left the Cavaliers’ Christmas Day loss to the Heat after jumping into the stands for a loose ball, returned in that game and played in Cleveland’s next two contests (a win over the Magic and loss to the Pistons). But he hasn’t completely healed.

Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

Losing LeBron obviously affects the Cavaliers greatly. (Relax, I mean just for this game.)

Kevin Love won’t be sitting out entire quarters. Dion Waiters won’t be (as) frozen out. And Kyrie Irving, who returns from his own injury, won’t play second fiddle.

The 22-8 Hawks have played much better than Cleveland this season, but the Cavaliers’ biggest problem has been making all the supersized pieces fit. Don’t be surprised if removing LeBron from the puzzle, although lowering their upside, makes them a little better for a night.