LeBron has procedure

Updated: June 3, 2009, 12:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LeBron James was playing with a health issue through the end of the season and the playoffs, a situation that was taken care of Tuesday.

James
James

The Cleveland Cavaliers star underwent surgery at the Cleveland Clinic to remove a benign growth in his mouth, the team said. Dr. Frank Papay performed a five-hour procedure on James' parotid gland, which produces saliva. Surgery for such conditions often takes time because of the numerous nerves and blood vessels in that area of the jaw.

The Cavaliers released a statement saying doctors were "pleased with the outcome of the procedure, and at this time, are confident that no further treatment will be needed as LeBron is expected to make a full and complete recovery."

James and his family have been aware of this medical issue for several months but, with the clearance of the treating doctors and medical staff, decided to wait until the conclusion of the Cavaliers' season to undergo the procedure. Cleveland was eliminated from the NBA playoffs on Saturday by Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals.

James was recovering comfortably at the Cleveland Clinic and is expected to return home soon.

The 24-year-old James was the league MVP this season after leading the Cavs to 66 regular-season wins and their second Central Division title. He averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 assists and 8.0 rebounds in Cleveland's series against the Magic, who won in six games.

James caused a minor controversy after Game 6 for not shaking hands with Orlando's players and for skipping the postgame news conference.

Information from ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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