When the Cleveland Cavaliers travel north of border to take on the Toronto Raptors tomorrow, they will be without three key players. The team announced on Thursday that center Anderson Varejao, guard Dion Waiters and guard C.J. Miles did not travel with the team and are out due to their own respective ailments. From the Cavaliers’ press release:
Cavaliers guard/forward C.J. Miles (left ankle sprain), forward/center Anderson Varejao (sore back) and guard Dion Waiters (left knee hyperextension) did not travel with the team to Toronto and will remain in Cleveland to continue receiving treatment at Cleveland Clinic Courts. They are all listed as OUT for tomorrow night’s game and their statuses will be updated as appropriate.
This is obviously a blow for the Cavaliers. Without Waiters and Miles, it’s hard to see how the Cleveland defense will be able to matchup consistently with Raptors best two wings, All-Star DeMar DeRozen and Terrence Ross. With Waiters and Miles out, this likely means an uptick in minutes for Jarrett Jack and possibly for Matthew Dellavedova.
As for Varejao, this may mean that newly acquired center Spencer Hawes sees extended minutes in his first game as a member of the Cavaliers. Cleveland acquired Hawes, a six-year pro, from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for two second round picks, center Henry Sims and forward Earl Clark. He will wear number 31 as a Cavalier, as it is against NBA rules for two players to wear the same number and Miles already wears “0″ (although Hawes’ “00″ is different”.
It will be interesting to see not only how many minutes Hawes plays, but also how many minutes Tyler Zeller plays. In the days leading up to the draft (and after they had acquired Hawes) the Cavaliers were reportedly shopping Zeller around the league and almost came to a deal the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for rookie forward Reggie Bullock.