The Cleveland Cavaliers are already thin up front — Anderson Varejao’s numbers have not been great this season, but he’s the best center they have. By a mile.
And they could be without him for a while.
Varejao left the Cavaliers eventual win over the Timberwolves Tuesday in the third quarter when he came down awkwardly on his left leg and went to the ground with what the team tried to say later was a sprain. He had to be carried to the locker room, he couldn’t put any weight on his leg. Varejao did not return to the game and will have an MRI on Wednesday.
But the Cavaliers are worried this is something more serious, reports Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein at ESPN.
Initial tests weren’t able to determine the severity of the injury and Varejao was forced to leave the arena on crutches, with league sources telling ESPN.com that the Cavs fear one potential outcome is a torn Achilles.
Hopefully it’s not that, but it sounds like either way this could be something more serious that could have him out for a while. That would mean the Cavaliers would need to start Brendan Haywood or move Tristan Thompson to the five spot. Which is another way of saying Cavaliers coach David Blatt doesn’t have any real good options. Varejao is averaging 10 points a game on 55 percent shooting, plus pulls down six rebounds a game. He’s often the big setting the pick for LeBron James out high. His +/- numbers aren’t good, but they are drastically better than the other centers on the roster.
Cleveland has been active on the trade market trying to upgrade at center for this season, the loss of Varejao for any legnth of time would force them to push harder, reports ESPN.
The team has been seeking additional help for their front line going back to the summer, having specifically targeted Timofey Mozgov of the Denver Nuggets and Kosta Koufos of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Sources say that the Cavs, in recent days, have been in contact with the Boston Celtics about working as a facilitator in three-team trade scenarios. The Celtics, blessed with frontcourt depth in the wake of their recent acquisition of Brandan Wright in the Rajon Rondo deal, have been aggressive recently in their attempts to acquire future draft picks.
The best possible news for Cleveland would be that this injury is not that serious. Cleveland would continue to shop around for an upgrade at the five spot, but there would be a lot less pressure to do so quickly.