Miami Heat forward LeBron was held out of Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls at AmericanAirlines Arena due to the broken nose he sustained in Thursday's victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
In a somewhat surprising move, Greg Oden stated in place of James, giving the Heat more bulk in the middle against Bulls center Joakim Noah.
It was Oden's first start since signing with the Heat as a free agent in the offseason, first since Dec. 5, 2009, while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. The hulking center had been held out of four of the previous games prior to Sunday.
James, who had his nose repaired Friday and then was limited to light shooting at Saturday's practice, now will have a full week to recover, with the Heat's next game Thursday at home against the New York Knicks, the second game in this four-game homestand.
"We understand the big picture," coach Erik Spoelstra said 90 minutes before Sunday's game."The fact that we don't play until Thursday, it makes the most sense."
It is just the second game James has missed this season. He missed the Dec. 28 road victory over Portland Trail Blazers with a strained right groin, with center Chris Bosh leading the Heat that night with a season-high 37 points.
James' last action at AmericanAirlines Arena remains Feb. 3, before the Heat left for a six-game trip that wrapped around the All-Star Game.
"We will take it day-to-day and see how he feels [Monday] and go from there," Spoelstra said.
Spoelstra said James was in agreement, joking that he, "didn't put up his dukes and fight us."
James was not made available for comment, but teammate Dwyane Wade said he figures this will be a case of one-and-done when it comes to missed time for James.
"That will take him to the end of the season, for sure," he said.
The Bulls, who have gone most of the season without Derrick Rose, also were without starting guard Jimmy Butler due to a rib issue.
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