Tyler Zeller — who had been playing well off the bench for Cleveland until his face ran into the elbow of the Clippers D’Andre Jordan — has been cleared to return to the court, the team announced.
Zeller suffered a concussion and a non-displaced fracture of his left orbital bone (the eye socket) from Jordan’s elbow while battling for rebounding position. If you really want to see the video, it’s below. Zeller has been cleared of the concussion symptoms (by the league neurologist) but will wear a mask for a while until the bone is healed.
Zeller was giving the Cavs a solid 18.5 minutes a game off the bench, with 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. His return will be a boost.
He could be back on the court Saturday against Dallas.
Cleveland’s Luke Harangody won’t be on the court for a while — he is out six weeks following knee surgery on Friday, the team announced. Not that they will notice, he hasn’t stepped foot on the court this season due to his knee.
This was an arthroscopic procedure to clean up whatever was going on in there. Harangody had been having swelling and issues in his knees since training camp.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.