Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is confident that he will be ready for his side's season opener against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.
James has not been cleared to practice with his team-mates after receiving an anti-inflammatory injection in his lower back on October 13.
But, should his rehabilitation programme go according to plan, James sees no reason why he will not be in action against the Bulls next week.
"We still, we feel like we're progressing really well, and if we can continue to do that, then I'm optimistic that I'll be able to go," James told reporters.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin also feels that James will be ready by Tuesday, but added that the team will monitor him closely as they don't want him to aggravate the injury and spend even more time on the sidelines.
"I don't think that there's any reason that he won't play on Tuesday," Griffin said. "We have no reason to believe that, but we also are of the mindset that it wouldn't be the end of the world if he didn't play on Tuesday. We just want him to get better every day, and he has been, and he's been progressing and feeling like we'd like him to feel.
"He's in radically better shape than he was last year just in terms of his overall strength and what he is able to do when he plays is significantly advanced of where he was last year at the same stage. So we're actually really optimistic. I don't know if it's dealing with his own mortality as much as it is just the maturity of [recognizing] the grind of the year."
Griffin added that the last two practices before the Cavaliers travel to Chicago on Monday will determine whether James will feature in the season opener against the Bulls.
"I think in order to just feel really comfortable cutting him loose, we want to see him do a few more things from a strength standpoint and from a just an overall preventative maintenance standpoint," Griffin said. "Really this comes down to more than anything else just keeping him from putting miles on himself. And that's really hard to do. Because like I said, if it was up to him, he'd be here 2-3 times a day already. So we're really just trying to dial him back more than anything else."