LeBron James will be going the Rip Hamilton route as he recovers from a broken nose.
The Miami Heat star, who suffered the injury on a shot to the face from Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka last week, said Tuesday that he plans to wear a protective face mask when he returns to the lineup.
This is not James’ first time wearing facial protection on the court — he did so after fracturing his cheekbone in 2004 — but he said the extra gear still takes a bit of getting used to.
“It’s a difficult challenge. … It feels like something, someone has a hand constantly in your face,” James said, via ESPN.com. “It’s like an added defender you don’t want.”
James sat out Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bulls, but he is confident he will be healthy enough to play Thursday, when the Heat host the New York Knicks.
“Every day is better,” James said. “It’s getting better, but I haven’t been hit on it, either. It’s too soon, but I think I should be fine enough to go on Thursday. It’s only Tuesday, so we’ve got a lot of time.”