CLEVELAND - The throbbing pain in Larry Hughes' left foot matched the ache in the pit of his stomach. The thought of missing another NBA playoff game was tough on Cleveland's point guard.
Hughes, mired in a shooting slump during the postseason, will likely sit out Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final against Detroit after he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot during the Cavaliers' 88-82 win in Game 3.
Hughes, who didn't play in the fourth quarter Sunday night, described his chances of playing in today's game as "pretty slim" and "doubtful."
"It's a tear," Hughes said Monday. "It's not just sore. I haven't been faced with something this painful. I can hardly put any pressure on it."
The injury is personally difficult for Hughes, who missed four conference semifinal games against the Pistons in last year's playoffs after the death of his younger brother, Justin. He wanted to make this postseason memorable for other reasons.
"I think this is a series that we can win," he said, "so I definitely want to be a part of it."
The Cavaliers, who trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, listed Hughes as doubtful on their official medical update and diagnosed Hughes' injury as a strain of the left foot plantar fascia.
Hughes, though, said an MRI revealed a partial tear and that it should heal without surgery. He was hurt while planting for a layup, but he said his foot has been bothering him for more than a month.
"There wasn't any contact or anything like that," he said. "I just probably turned the wrong way. It was hot, and I've never torn a muscle or anything like that before. So I knew when I did it that it wasn't a normal tweak. It was something pretty serious."