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NBA's leading scorer deals with another injury

PHILADELPHIA -- On Wednesday, Allen Iverson maintained hope that a chipped bone in his left thumb won't cost him any games.

"Nine times out of 10, I'm playing Friday," Iverson said after the 76ers practiced without the All-Star game MVP.

True to his word, he was in the Sixers' lineup at Cleveland on Friday night, scoring a game-high 31 points in Philadelphia's 93-81 victory over the Cavaliers.

Iverson, the NBA's leading scorer, was hurt in Philadelphia's win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. Iverson said Wednesday he still wasn't sure when the injury happened, though he thought it might have been on a play where he was fouled by Kobe Bryant.

Iverson did not practice, watching from the sideline in street clothes with his thumb in a cast and wearing his Yankees cap askew.

"We're trying to get all the wins that we can, and for something like this to happen makes it that much harder," Iverson said.

O'Brien may have to be more cautious with Iverson, whose slashing and crashing style has left him open to injury. Iverson has already missed seven games with injuries this year.

"I don't know if Allen has another gear," O'Brien said. "I don't know if Allen can say, 'I'm going to back off.' I think when he gets on the court, it seems to me he's always in the attack
mentality."
Said Iverson: "My history speaks for itself. I know I can play
through pain."
Iverson said he wasn't worried about getting hit, only about how
he would be affected defensively. Iverson said he may not be able
to aggressively reach in and go for steals like he usually does.
"I don't use my left hand for nothing but dribbling anyway,"
Iverson said. "I tell my teammates I've got the worst left hand in
the league."
Sixers president Billy King agreed.
"His left is awful," said King, laughing. "Having a cast on
it doesn't affect his game."