Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James cut his head open in colliding with a cameraman after falling to the floor on the baseline following a foul by Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut midway through the second quarter of Game 4 of the 2015 NBA Finals on Thursday night:
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As James drove to the basket from the left wing, Bogut — who was replaced by reserve small forward Andre Iguodala from the Warriors starting lineup by head coach Steve Kerr shortly before tipoff in a tactical shift that paid dividends for Golden State in the early going — lowered the boom on the four-time MVP with a clean, hard foul. An off-balance James stumbled as he landed, running headlong and headfirst into the lens of a cameraman shooting the game from the baseline.
He stayed down in evident pain after the collision before coming up cut and bloodied:
More looks of LeBron's cuts on his head, damn. pic.twitter.com/3m91WRFuSv
— MarcusD (@_MarcusD_) June 12, 2015
A bleeding James headed to the bench, with a towel on his head, to receive treatment:
He seemed a bit shaken up, but returned and heading to the free-throw line to shoot his free throws. He split the pair, and remained in the game.
Despite hitting his head and bleeding from it, James did not undergo a concussion test following the incident. ABC's Sage Steele raised the question of why not during a halftime interview with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
"In terms of the blood rule, if he stops bleeding, he doesn't need to come out of the game," Silver said. "I'd say LeBron's a true warrior. Obviously, when somebody gets hit on the head, we always watch closely. But there, it seemed to be a surface cut. He went to the line, hit the free throw and stayed in the game."
James apparently did get some extra attention to attempt to address the cut:
LeBron just told Doris Burke: "No stitches." But did acknowledge that he's in some pain and that the wound was closed up by "glue"
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 12, 2015
It's the second time this postseason that LeBron has had a run-in with a camerman during the course of play. He tweaked his ankle after landing on or near a cameraman's foot during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks, and later suggested that the camera operator's foot was further out toward the playing area than it was supposed to be.
As we always say whenever a player winds up ramming into a baseline cameraperson and gets dinged up or worse: Move the cameras back, NBA. We know why you don't want to and won't, but still, pretty please, with sugar on top: Move the damn cameras back and give these guys room to land safely.
James would finish with 20 points on 7-for-22 shooting, 12 rebounds and eight assists in 41 minutes of playing time as the Warriors blew out the Cavaliers, 103-82, to even the Finals at 2-2. He fielded questions about the collision and its aftermath during his postgame press conference.
"I was just trying to regain my composure, and I was holding my head," he said. "It was hurting. I was just hoping I wasn't bleeding. But, obviously, the camera cut me pretty bad. Our medical staff did a great job of stopping the bleeding. I knew I had to shoot the free throws or I wasn't going to be able to come back into the game, so it didn't matter what was going on with my head at that point in time," he added. "I had to go up there and shoot those free throws so I could continue to play."
He also addressed the fact that he didn't go through the league's concussion protocol after the collision.
"No, I didn't have to go through any concussion protocol," he said. "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. 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."
Hat-tip to @_MarcusD_.
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