LeBron James takes elbow to back, says he's 'fine'

SAN ANTONIO -- Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said he's "fine" after suffering a blow to the middle of his upper back area in the third quarter that forced him to leave Monday's game with his team down 24 points to the San Antonio Spurs.

"I'll be ready by Thursday [in Chicago]," James said in the locker room after Cleveland's 103-74 loss. "I got elbowed in the neck and spine."

James absorbed the blow standing under the basket as Spurs forward/center David Lee pulled down a rebound with his elbow coming in contact with the Cavaliers star. The blow occurred with 28 seconds remaining in the third quarter and left James lying on the court writhing in pain for approximately five minutes.

James immediately walked over to the bench with assistance from teammates but left the court and headed to the locker room early in the fourth quarter.

Lee said he "didn't even know" he had hit James after coming down with the rebound.

When Lee saw James go down near the scorer's table, he said he thought the Cavs forward had twisted his ankle or something.

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than rest them, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of the Cavs' second lopsided loss in the past two weeks.

Cavs coach Tryonn Lue said he has considered resting his stars over the struggling team's final nine games, which James is not in favor of.

"Coach is going to have his logic of things, but we need to play,'' he said.