The Cleveland Cavaliers went winless on their two-game road swing this week, but their biggest loss of the trip could be LeBron James.

After spraining his ankle in the Cavaliers' most recent defeat, James hopes to be able to play as his team tries to bounce back by hosting the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

The Cavaliers (32-26) fell 92-87 to Boston on Wednesday night, capping a two-game trip that began with Tuesday's 105-102 loss to Milwaukee.

James sprained his right ankle and missed the last 4:24 of the first half, but X-rays were negative and he was back for the start of the third quarter. His status for Friday's game is uncertain.

"I know my ankle, and tomorrow it's going to be a lot worse," said James, who missed Cleveland's Jan. 31 loss at Seattle with the same injury.

"I've had my share of ankle injuries. The first thing I thought was, 'Not again. Not another one to go down for our team.' We have been hit with the injury bug, the cold bug, guys have been walking around here sick and injured. I didn't want to go down."

James, the league's leading scorer at 30.2 points per game, finished with 26 on Wednesday to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 10,000 career points. The injury, however, could have contributed to James' poor shooting. He was 7-for-24 from the field and Cleveland shot 38.3 percent as a team.

"When you have an off-shooting night like this, it's tough to pull a game out," James said. "Especially against the best team in the league."

Cleveland, one of only five Eastern Conference teams with winning records, hasn't lost three straight since its season-high six-game skid Nov. 28-Dec. 8.

The Cavaliers could have a good opportunity to avoid a third consecutive defeat with the Western Conference-worst Timberwolves (12-44) coming to town.

Minnesota upset Utah 111-100 on Tuesday, but followed that with a 107-85 loss at Toronto on Wednesday. Wolves coach Randy Wittman ripped into his team after its listless effort.

"If you want to get to the position of being a playoff team, a win like that you have to back up with an effort the next night," Wittman said. "That's going to be the difference on whether you're going to make it in the league or not.

"That's what we're trying to find out here, who are we moving forward with while we're rebuilding this? If you can't understand that for 82 games, we'll find someone who can."

Al Jefferson continued his career season with 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting Wednesday, and second-year guard Randy Foye added 18 while going 7-for-10. Minnesota's other three starters, however, combined for seven points as the Wolves fell to 2-24 on the road and 2-8 in their last 10 games overall.

"We've only won 12 games," said Foye, averaging 10.3 points and 2.4 assists since returning from a knee injury that kept him sidelined the first three months of the season. "You can't be satisfied with one night. You've got to keep trying to win every night."

That could be a challenge if the Cavaliers have a healthy James, who had 45 points to lead Cleveland to a 97-86 win over Minnesota on Nov. 21.

Jefferson had 30 points in that game - the Timberwolves' fourth straight loss in the series.


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