LeBron James is confident his ankle injury is not serious after playing in a season opener that he struggled to process for NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers.
Just 72 days on from wrapping up a 4-2 Final series triumph over the Miami Heat in the Orlando bubble, the Lakers had their ring ceremony before falling to a 116-109 loss to city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.
Superstar James had 22 points from only 28 minutes after turning his ankle in the second half of the contest.
James expects to play on Christmas Day against the Dallas Mavericks, explaining: "I turned it pretty good but I don't think it's going to stop me from playing Friday.
"I have a couple of days, you know what I'm like about treatment, I do that around the clock. I think I should be fine."
The 35-year-old explained a rather novel way of helping his ankle recover, adding with a laugh: "I'll go home and have dinner right now, I'll ice it and I'll drink some wine that will flow straight to the ankle.
"I'll make sure I drink on the left side of my body so it goes down to my left leg right down to my ankle!"
Tough result in game one. 71 more to go. pic.twitter.com/yjNVt3liCt— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 23, 2020
The delay to the 2019-20 season caused by the coronavirus pandemic has had a knock-on effect for this campaign, which has been shortened to a 72-game regular season.
For James, it was tough to comprehend returning to the court so soon after a gruelling end to the championship run.
"The day is over with, I'm very happy with what we were able to accomplish and I'm excited to move on to the next day. It felt weird even having a basketball game today," he added.
"It's not the fact it's starting over, it's the fact it's starting already. I've always had a routine how I prepare going into a season after a Finals run, or a playoffs run knowing the kind of time I have to prepare for my body, for my mind.
"There was so much uncertainty of when we're going to start the season, is it going to be December? Early December? Christmas? January?
"Then boom, December 1 training camp, first game of the season is happening on December 22. It was just a lot, I can't lie to you it was just too much to grasp. We're here now, happy today is over, but it's just a lot to process."
Team-mate Anthony Davis – who put up 18 points – won his first championship ring as a result of the Lakers' triumph, something he will "cherish forever", but he also stated how tough it is physically and mentally to be playing again so soon.
"I think it's both, physically just from a standpoint of trying to get your body ready for the season," Davis said.
"After the game me and Bron were like, 'I can't believe we just played a basketball game'.
"The mental part, mentally being here, with a short offseason, just one or two months ago, then you had to wrap your head around we had to play tonight and play again Friday. It can get to some guys but the good thing is we have a very good team."