Just when you think things can't get any worse for the Cavaliers, they do. They announced on Wednesday they will shut down guard Kyrie Irving for a week to 10 days after he aggravated his sprained right shoulder.
It comes at a time when the Cavs have lost nine in a row and had their heart and desire questioned by coach Byron Scott. They fell at Milwaukee on Wednesday 107-98 and actually played hard.
Irving was held out of the New York game on Saturday with the same injury. He didn't practice with the Cavs on Monday but got the medical clearance to play against San Antonio on Tuesday. As luck would have it, he reinjured his shoulder against the Spurs. He finished with 13 points and five assists in the Cavs' 125-90 defeat.
The 6-foot-3, 191-pounder didn't travel to Milwaukee after Tuesday's game. Instead, he underwent an MRI on Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic and was examined by Cavs team physician Dr. Richard Parker.
Irving, the Rookie of the Year favorite, will rest his shoulder and undergo treatment before he transitions into a period of rehabilitation.
Scott said after practice on Monday the Cavs needed to be careful with Irving so that he doesn't aggravate the injury. So much for that line of thinking.
"I don't think there's any need to put him in harm's way," Scott said. "It won't benefit him to go out there and get that thing re-injured and miss the rest of the season or the next five games. That's why we're very cautious."
The Cavs announced late Tuesday that guard Daniel Gibson's surgery to repair his torn tendon will keep him out for the rest of the season. He's expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
Guard Donald Sloan, brought up from the D-League two weeks ago, will assume Irving's spot in the starting lineup. Sloan had 12 points and eight assists in 36 minutes against the Bucks. Guard Lester Hudson, another former D-League player, will be the primary backup. Hudson had nine points, five rebounds and six assists on Wednesday.
Cleveland will try to end its slide Friday at Toronto.
Varejao return taking longer than expected
--Center Anderson Varejao, out since Feb. 10 with a fractured right wrist, has still not made it back on the court. The Cavs hope he can return sometime next week. When he was sidelined, doctors estimated his recovery time as four to six weeks. Friday will be seven weeks. He is still experiencing soreness in the wrist, which might put a crimp in his returning at all this season. Some have wondered if it makes sense for the 6-11 center to come back this year, since there's little for him to play for. The playoffs are long out of the question.
--Injuries to center Anderson Varejao, guard Daniel Gibson and guard Kyrie Irving and the trade of guard Ramon Sessions to the Los Angeles Lakers mean four of the Cavs' top five players are out of the lineup. The Cavs are 1-10 since the Sessions trade. That seemed to be the last straw for the Cavs. The players are playing like they have no hope. They have been disastrous at home. In their last four games at The Q, they've lost by a total of 109 points -- an average deficit of 27 points per game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It seems like Andy has a lifetime contract. It will be fun to play with 'Wild Thing.' We both attack the glass and run the floor. It will drain some of the big men, I'll tell you that." -- Cavs forward-center Tristan Thompson on eventually playing with center Anderson Varejao.
Roster ReportPLAYER NOTES:
--C Anderson Varejao is still experiencing soreness in his fractured right wrist as the Cavaliers hope to unveil their frontcourt of the future sometime this season. They had hoped he could return next week. If he returns, coach Byron Scott is anxious to pair him with forward-center Tristan Thompson on the court. Forward Antawn Jamison has started all 53 games at power forward, but since he's an unrestricted free agent this summer, there's no guarantee he'll be back. The Cavs could start the 2012-13 season with the 6-foot-11 Varejao at center and 6-9 Thompson at power forward. "It would be nice to get a gauge on them playing together," Scott said. "You would hope you could envision them together because of the energy that Andy brings and the energy Tristan beings 90 percent of time. You'd like to see how that meshes." They might be very good defensively but lacking on offense. Scott said he might play them with three scorers in the lineup to balance their lack of scoring ability.
--F-C Tristan Thompson said he trained with Spurs forward-center Tim Duncan for about two weeks last summer in Texas. He hopes to do it again this summer. He called Duncan "arguably the best power forward in the game." He's also scheduled for some court time with former Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The rookie said he wants to expand his offensive package and improve his hook shots and turnaround jumpers. Thompson said learning from Duncan is priceless. He said Duncan told him to embrace what got him in the NBA -- defending and rebounding -- as well as trying to get better every day. Thompson had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds against Milwaukee on Wednesday.
--F Alonzo Gee is one that got away from the Spurs. The Spurs pride themselves on uncovering players that other teams overlook. Gee played five games with the Spurs in 2010-11. He's found a home in Cleveland after a solid season. "We watched him develop on our D-League team and in the summer," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Alonzo had a lot to learn and a lot to catch up on. He put in the work and effort to do that. It's a tribute to his character. He's a great personality. Once you put in the work, you need an opportunity. He's gotten that (in Cleveland)."
--C Anderson Varejao (broken right wrist) was injured in the Milwaukee game on Feb. 10. The Cavs hope he can return next week.
--G Daniel Gibson (foot surgery) had surgery on Monday to repair the torn tendon in left foot. He's done for the season. He was injured against New Jersey on March 19. The Cavs expect him to be ready for training camp.