Per the team, the infirmary list in Cleveland Clinic courts has grown by leaps and bounds after four additional injuries have occurred in the past two days.
On Wednesday night, the team would not have Anthony Parker due to a back strain suffered earlier in the day. During the game against the Toronto Raptors, the Cavaliers lost Daniel Gibson to a left ankle strain and Leon Powe to a right knee contusion. Neither returned to the game nor traveled with the team on their current five-game road trip out west.
To make matters a bit worse (as if they could getworse), Anderson Varejao suffered a right ankle strain during Thursday’s practice, confirmed by MRI, and is questionable for Friday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors who are already favored by 9.5 points.
Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott started out 2011 with injuries to starters Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao, with the latter two player suffering different injuries than a week ago. In Varejao’s absence, Scott started Powe with occasional run at the center spot given to JJ Hickson and Ryan Hollins. Hickson was recently punished for missing a team practice, but may now be the recipient of additional playing time by chance rather than by Byron Scott’s choice.
Prior to their injuries, both Gibson and Varejao were playing excellent basketball despite the Cavaliers losses continuing to compound. For the month of December, Varejao averaged 9.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots and 1.1 steals per game while Gibson averaged 14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.7 three-pointers per game.
While both players have earned plenty of praise over the last month, prior to his bout with injuries, Scott said Varejao was playing at an All-Star caliber level.
“You guys have to probably tell me who’s the so-called best center in the league right now because I think Andy’s up there,” said Scott. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for how hard he plays and the things he’s been able to do for us. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to combine his effort with wins right now. There’s not a guy in the league right now that’s playing better, so I think he needs to know that. Right now he should be on that All-Star ballot as one of the top guys in the league, my opinion. I’m biased.”
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)