The Cavaliers have been forced to play two games without starters Mo Williams and Anderon Varejao. In said games, the Wine and Gold are 0-2, losing by an average of 17 points and have suffered on the glass, pulling down 14 fewer rebounds than their opponents.
With the Philadelphia 76ers coming to town, and the Cavaliers looking to get off of the schneid at home (currently 1-4 in the confines of Quicken Loans Arena), they could once again be without two key parts as both players are listed as questionable for the game.
Varejao (ribs) and Williams (groin) were both injured in Wednesday night’s loss to the New Jersey Nets. While Varejao would return, fitted with additional protection for his chest, Williams would not and seemed destined to miss several weeks with a similar injury he had sustained a month prior. The fact that Williams practiced today – he and Varejao both took a limited role which encompassed about 30 minutes - should be considered great news for something that had the potential to creep into the December slate of games.
It is speculated that Varejao has the potential to resume play sooner than Williams, but coach Byron Scott continues to work with the team under the assumption that he will be without both players.
“Some guys can play at 85 percent [health] and do okay,” Scott said on Saturday morning. “I’d rather have guys out there not worrying about re-injuring an injury or anything like that so they can focus on the game and what they have to do at that particular time.”
In the meantime, Ramon Sessions, Daniel Gibson, Ryan Hollins and Leon Powe will attempt to fill in the gaps for their injured teammates. Sessions turned in a solid night with 17 points, five assists and five rebounds in the latest loss to the Indiana Pacers. And while Powe provided nine points and two steals off of the bench, Hollins was a victim of early foul trouble after amassing four personal fouls in just 17 minutes.
Going forward, the Cavaliers will continue to stress ball movement and the use of screens on offense. Fans should look for additional focus on Sessions the passer versus Sessions the slasher, and hope for consistent play from the reserve players in the post.
The biggest factor will be getting both Williams and Varejao to be 100 percent healthy. Not many teams can survive extended periods of time without two key starters. This Cavaliers team is no exception.
(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)