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LeBron James hopes to return on Thursday against the Knicks, will wear a protective mask

LeBron James lead the Heat in points, rebounds and assists. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images) LeBron James lead the Heat in points, rebounds and assists. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Miami Heat star LeBron James said he should be able to return to competition in time for the team's Thursday game against the New York Knicks, after sitting out Miami's 93-79 victory against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday with a broken nose.

James was able to take place in non-contact drills on Tuesday and told Steve Wine of the Associated Press that his nose is still sore but has improved. He plans to wear a mask in practice on Wednesday to grow accustomed to it before his return.

The reigning MVP said that the protective gear is uncomfortable, but will not affect his style of play.

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"It's a difficult challenge," James said. "It's like somebody constantly has a hand in your face. It's like an added defender you definitely don't want. I won't change my game because of the mask, I'll probably be a little tentative when I first get out there, but I think I'll get used to it."
Sunday's game was only the second James has missed this season, both of which ended in Miami victories.

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