LeBron’s ‘slight’ headache a big deal in the NBA Finals

Jun 12, 2015, 10:12 AM
A wound is seen on the head Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half of...
A wound is seen on the head Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Cleveland, Thursday, June 11, 2015. James was injured in the first half. The Golden State Warriors won 103-82. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James called it a “slight” headache, though nothing involving the game’s best player is ever minor.

So when James got a cut on his head after falling into a TV camera during Game 4 of the NBA Finals, it led to questions about everything from how the NBA treats head injuries to whether someone taking pictures should be close enough to cause one.

The league tried to deal with both issues long before Thursday night.

Baseline photography and TV positions were already reduced last summer, and a concussion protocol was previously in place. But according to the league’s policy, a cut on the head alone is not a trigger for it.

The protocol requires concussion evaluation when a player is suspected of having a concussion or exhibits signs or symptoms of one. Based on the player’s response, teams make the clinical judgment call whether to evaluate.

James was bleeding but not showing concussion symptoms. He was thinking clearly, saying he was aware he needed to stay in the game to shoot his free throws after being fouled by Andrew Bogut, or he wouldn’t have been able to re-enter, according to league rules.

“No, I didn’t have to go through any concussion protocol. I had a slight headache, which I think every last one of you guys would probably have if you ran into a camera. You might have a little bit more than that,” James said during his postgame news conference.

“But I didn’t go through any protocol. I’m fine. Like I said, I got a few stitches and I got a little slight headache right now, but I’ll be fine with that.”

The Warriors dealt with the concussion questions in their last series. Both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson suffered head injuries in the Western Conference finals, with Thompson diagnosed with a concussion following their Game 5 victory over Houston and having to be cleared to play in the NBA Finals.

Commissioner Adam Silver said last week during his finals news conference that he was confident in the league’s protocol and in the way it was followed with the Warriors.

“Right now we talked to the other leagues. We’ve talked to medical advisers everywhere about the best way to approach this,” he said. “As I said, we think the best way we’re approaching it now is best in class in terms of medical and science information that’s available to us. But we’ll continue to look at it.”

The league had already been looking at player safety behind the baselines over the previous five years.

New rules last summer mandated an extra foot of open space on both sides of the basket stanchion. The “escape lanes,” the unoccupied area on either side of the stanchion to the closest photographer spot, increased from 3 to 4 feet, and only 20 camera positions, 10 on each baseline, remained, down from 24 in 2013-14 and 40 during the 2010-11 regular season.

Social media was already flooded with cries to move the photographers and TV cameramen further even before James’ bleeding had stopped. But at least one person seems to believe enough space had already been created.

Bogut, adding insult to injury, indicated James’ actions after the foul caused the injury.

“I think he jumped into the cameraman,” Bogut said. “I think he came down and took two steps and then fell on the cameraman.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Penguin Air

Other Drop Down

FILE – In this July 25, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speak...
Arizona Sports

Trump hosts Women’s British Open as Park resumes slam quest

Inbee Park resuming her quest for the career Grand Slam. Teenage prodigy Lydia Ko seeking that elusive first major. Michelle Wie going for victory with an injured left foot.
7 years ago
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, right, motions to Democratic Reps., from left: Peter Barca; ...
Arizona Sports

Wisconsin Assembly approves Milwaukee Bucks arena deal

The Wisconsin state Assembly voted Tuesday to spend $250 million in public funds on a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, a deal that both Republicans and Democrats lauded as good for the state and city.
7 years ago
FILE-In this Nov. 13, 2014 file photo former PGA golfer Charlie Sifford sits in the dining room in ...
Arizona Sports

Family of late black golf great accused of $1 million theft

The son and ex-daughter-in-law of late black golf pioneer Charlie Sifford were indicted Tuesday on charges they stole more than $1 million from him.
7 years ago
Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 18th hole during a practice round for the Quicken Loans Nat...
Arizona Sports

Michelle Wie limps into her next major

that matched her best result of the year -- she developed a bone spur in her left foot that she attributed to the hilly terrain of Lancaster Country Club.
7 years ago
Lexi Thompson holds the trophy after winning the Meijer LPGA Classic golf tournament Sunday, July 2...
Arizona Sports

Golf’s youth movement means 30 is the new 20

a major -- from an otherwise remarkable record. Ko had never missed the cut in her career until that week at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. A month later, she was never in contention at the U.S. Women's Open.
7 years ago
Tiger Woods smiles as he answers a question during a news conference prior to the start of the Quic...
Arizona Sports

Tiger Woods running out of chances to salvage season

Tiger Woods knows he's played poorly over the past two years. Now, he's facing the prospect of an early end to his season.
7 years ago
LeBron’s ‘slight’ headache a big deal in the NBA Finals