The highly anticipated first face-off between former teammates LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics might not happen with the former still experiencing soreness in his ankle. Fans are expecting a big-time showdown between James and Irving when the Cavaliers and Celtics collide in the season-opener on Oct. 17. This will be the first time that the two superstars will play against each other since Irving’s trade to the Celtics. However, Joe Vardon of said James’ ankle is still sore. With the development, the Cavaliers will shut down James for the rest of the preseason and will not join Wednesday’s practice.

According to Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, James is furious about his situation, but the team wants to take all necessary precautions so he can play against the Celtics. Lue said James received treatment all day on Wednesday as part of efforts to address his ankle issue and so that he can play against Irving and the Celtics. James sustained the injury during their Sept. 27. He played his first preseason game Tuesday, scoring 17 points in 30 minutes but the Cavaliers lost to the Chicago Bulls.

Cavs to use Korver, Jefferson if James won’t play

If James doesn't play against the Celtics, Lue will use Kyle Korver or Richard Jefferson to fill the void. Jae Crowder could also go down one position to play small forward.

Crowder was one of three players traded by the Celtics to the Cavaliers for Irving. Aside from Crowder, Isaiah Thomas and Ante Zizic were shipped to Boston together with the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round selection. In July, Irving approached Cavaliers team owner Dan Gilbert and demanded a trade.

Irving told Gilbert that he wanted to become the No. 1 man of a team and play away from James’ shadow. The demand surprised James, who thought of Irving as his heir-apparent in Cleveland.

Cavaliers debut new-look starting line-up

The Bulls spoiled the debut of the new-look Cavaliers’ starting line-up with a 108-94 win. Kevin Love and Dwyane Wade both struggled, scoring just three and four points, respectively.

Love made just one of 12 attempts while Went shot 1-of-7 from the floor. James, for his part, tallied 17 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 30 minutes while Derrick Rose added 13 points, five rebounds, and five assists. J.R. Smith, who was relegated to the bench after Wade was named a starter, scored just one point in 18 minutes of action.