In midst of putting together a story about Cleveland Cavalier fans needing patience when dealing with the current and persisting struggles that are encompassing and limiting the team, news broke that center Anderson Varejao would need surgery on a right knee contusion that was diagnosed after an injury on December 18th. In the mid-December game against the Toronto Raptors, Wild Thing finished the game despite going down earlier on in the contest. According to the Cleveland Cavaliers official website, an MRI later revealed that the injured area “included a small longitudinal split in the vastus medialis.”
For those not familiar with that area of the quadriceps (which includes the four main muscles on the front of the thigh), it is located in the middle of the front of the thigh and has the moniker of the “teardrop” muscle. Although Varejao was seeing signs of improvement in recovering from the injury, another MRI revealed that the split in the vastus medialis was only worsening. Reports from the Cavs included that an ultrasound further discovered more damage in the area of the split, showing that “tissue from underneath…was herniating and pinching with knee flexion.”
Dr. Richard Parker, the Cavaliers Head Team Physician, said that Varejao would require surgery due to problems with healing. After receiving a second opinion, the team decided that it would be best to go ahead with the procedure on his knee, which is slated for Thursday, January 10. Varejao, who will miss his eleventh game on Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks, is expected to miss six-eight weeks after being worked on.
That ends any Andy trade rumors that may have still been floating around. No team would be interested in taking on a player who hasn’t participated in any physical play on the court in three weeks, so his trade stock is non-existent at this point. Ironically enough, six weeks from the surgery would make it the day of the trade deadline (February 21). But with the way things have been going recently, I’m expecting Wild Thing to miss more time than less. Cleveland is in no rush to have their star back in the lineup, as they currently hold a record of 8-28.
Want to hear another ironic statistic? Varejao, after going down with a wrist injury last season early on in the Wine and Gold’s 2011-12 campaign, ended up playing in only 25 of 66 games that season. Same old story this year with Andy, as he has only participated in 25 contests and eight weeks from January 10 would be him at a March 8 return (at the earliest in my opinion) against the Memphis Grizzlies. 21 games, including the aforementioned match with the Grizzlies at home, would remain from that point on. By then Cleveland will be buried in lottery talks (as they already are) and more interested in receiving a higher pick than returning their most energetic player.
So far this season Andy has averaged 14.1 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals, while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 75.5 percent from the free throw line. Despite the struggles that Tyler Zeller has had adjusting to squaring up against the NBA’s elite bigs in place of Varejao, sophomore power forward Tristan Thompson has really stepped up despite the lack of energy that is missing on the floor without the 30-year-old veteran.
When the news leaked, disappointment ensued via Twitter:
Byron Scott on Varejao: “He’s our heart and soul. … Just disappointed for him and for our team.”
After head coach Byron Scott hinted on Tuesday after practice that he was “still optimistic that he’ll be able to play this year,” I knew that news was going to get worse before it got better regarding Varejao. This all together pretty much puts any Cavalier trade rumors to rest, as there are no legitimate trading pieces on the roster that other teams would be interested in swapping with the Wine and Gold.
In other injury-related news, Daniel Gibson (concussion) and C.J. Miles (back spasms) will be game-time decisions for Wednesday night’s game against the Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.