According to sources with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James will sit out his third consecutive full game tonight with a sprained left index finger.
The Cavs (9-9) host the New Jersey Nets (8-9) at 7 p.m.
In an unexpected yet strategic move, the Cavs are expected to start Shannon Brown in his place. The team needs to open a roster spot to accomodate Anderson Varejao, who is expected to be under contract within the next few days.
According to various league sources, the Cavs will attempt to showcase Brown in an effort to trade him for a draft pick or a trade exception. Brown, who was taken with the 25th pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, has appeared in four games this season. He has scored 21 points in 39 minutes, but has hit only 7-of-24 from the field.
James injured his finger in the second quarter of the game against the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 28. He stayed in that game until halftime but did not play in the second half. He did not dress for games at Toronto and at Boston. The Cavs lost all three of those games.