James has received an anti-inflammatory injection in his back on Oct. 13 and has not returned to practice.
"If everything goes right," James said. "We feel like we're progressing really well and if we can continue to do that, then I'm optimistic that I'll be able to go."
James appeared in just two of the Cavaliers' seven pre-season games. The team will practice on Sunday before the season opener on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls.
General manager David Griffin went back on his initial prognostication that James would play in the season opener.
"I don't think that there's any reason that he won't play on Tuesday," Griffin told reporters on Friday. "We have no reason to believe that, but we also are of the mindset that it wouldn't be the end of the world if he didn't play on Tuesday. We just want him to get better every day, and he has been, and he's been progressing and feeling like we'd like him to feel."
James received a cortisone shot last season and missed two weeks of games. Upon his return, James led the Cavaliers to an Eastern Conference title for the first time since 2007. The Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
- Christopher Chavez