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LeBron James injury: Heat forward 'hopefully' will play against Bulls

LeBron James has been bruised and battered lately, but he's expected to play in Friday night's game.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James will "hopefully" play in the Miami Heat's Friday night game against the Chicago Bulls, according to head coach Erik Spoelstra. James aggravated a right knee injury in Wednesday's game against the Dallas Mavericks, a 119-109 overtime win. He missed Thursday's practice and was treated for a bruised knee, and was able to participate in the team's Friday morning practice.

Spoelstra indicated he expected James to be able to play, but did note that the star forward is a human being. The Heat are on a good run, winning eight of their previous 10 games, but standings at the top of the Eastern Conference are tight. The Knicks are just one game behind the conference-leading Heat, and Atlanta is two games back in the division. It's only January, but Spoelstra may feel that he needs James on the floor if the team is going to stay out in front.

Friday is the season's first meeting between the Bulls and the Heat. Chicago has struggled with consistency, losing three of their last five.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.