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LeBron James out with “general soreness”

LeBron James, Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and small forward LeBron James look on at a break in action against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

AP

This may seem like a big deal, because LeBron James is kind of a big deal. He’s a basketball machine who rarely misses time, and all things told, he’s one of the most durable players the league has.

So is it a little weird to see him hampered with such a regular folks thing like general soreness? Sure, a little. But don’t be alarmed -- this is just a classic example of game recognizing game. This might not be on the level of Gregg Popovich listing Tim Duncan as “DNP - OLD” last season, but it’s a nice homage to Pop to sideline LeBron with “general soreness” for their preseason tilt.

Professional sports are kind of funny like this. Sometimes, players don’t have anything really wrong with them -- they just need rest. Other times, it’s the coaches who just want to sit their stars and give them a break. But you can’t actually say that, because people buy tickets and the like. And really, you can’t just make up a specific injury because those pesky media types will start poking around, so you go the Ferris Bueller route with something vague. Flu-like symptoms. Cramps. General soreness.

Popovich has been trying to run the odometer backwards on Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker for years, so I’m sure he can appreciate Spoelstra’s ploy here. Not having to coach against LeBron James is probably a nice little bonus, too.