Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James insisted reducing his workload will not prevent injuries as he prepares for his 19th NBA season.
James endured a frustrating 2020-21 campaign after the four-time champion and MVP missed 27 games due to injury, while averaging the fewest minutes per game (33.4) of his illustrious career.
The Lakers were also dethroned as champions, having bowed out of the playoffs in the opening round.
James and the Lakers open their season against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, and the 36-year-old is not prepared to protect his body from potential harm.
"I don't play the game thinking about injuries," James told reporters on Monday.
"And I also feel worse when I play low minutes."
Target Acquired. Season Tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/7rDGyILAvq— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 18, 2021
James averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game last season, while his field-goal (51.3) and three-point (36.5) percentages were his best since 2017-18.
The Lakers veteran (35,367) is third on the all-time scoring list, behind Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – James still needs 3,020 points to break the record.
"It took a while," James said of his ankle injury. "I didn't do much basketball stuff for probably the first two months of the summer, which is very rare for me, because my ankle wasn't responding how I would like it to respond.
"And the best thing about the summertime was I had time. I had time to just really get ready when my ankle was ready to go. I was always training, just wasn't on the basketball court much.
"Always doing other stuff, training, pushing, seeing if I could do other stuff with my ankle, and until I got to a point where I didn't feel any sharp pains anymore, and my flexibility was back to where it was before. That's when I knew I could get back on the floor."