February 23, 2014 / 9:29 PM / 5 years ago

Heat forward James out of Bulls game with broken nose

Feb 20, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) handles the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Miami Heat forward LeBron James was scratched from Sunday’s home game against the Chicago Bulls because of a fractured nose, only the second game he has missed this season.

The 10-time NBA All-Star broke his nose late in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 103-81 win against Oklahoma City after being accidentally hit in the face by Thunder center Serge Ibaka.

James sat out the rest of that game, had his nose reset by a doctor on Friday and missed team practice Saturday.

“He didn’t stand up and put up his dukes and fight us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra joked to reporters when asked about his decision to withhold James from Sunday’s game against the Bulls at the American Airlines Arena.

“We still understand the big picture. The fact that we don’t play until Thursday, it makes the most sense.”

Miami’s next game is at home to the New York Knicks on Thursday, giving James a full week to rest and recover from his broken nose.

The 29-year-old James, who has won two NBA championship titles with the Heat, is averaging 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game this season.

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine

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