LeBron James to copy J.R. Smith in Heat return

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LeBron James is expected to return to the Heat lineup this Thursday as he continues his recovery from a broken nose suffered last week.

If he does take to the court this week against the New York Knicks, it is likely that James will do so wearing a protective face mask.

But it will not be the first time that the reigning MVP has taken such precautionary measures in his NBA career.

In 2004, after fracturing his cheekbone, LeBron wore a mask for a few weeks in Cleveland.

But, eventhough he has some experience of the unique equipment, the player admits it is still an unusual feeling:

"It's a difficult challenge...It feels like something, someone has a hand constantly in your face.

"it's like an added defender you don't want," ESPN reports.

James missed the Heat's last outing, Sunday's win over the Chicago Bulls, after suffering the injury in a collision with Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka. 

And he will not be the only one with interesting head gear when he returns against the Knicks - J.R. Smith is likely to still be sporting a mask as he recovers from a broken cheekbone suffered earlier this month.

Miami Heat
New York Knicks
LeBron James

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