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Cleveland Cavaliers

Monday practice update: Semih Erden cleared to return

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2012

Cavs center Semih Erden had his broken right thumb cleared medically and he participated in his first full practice of the season on Monday. When he'll return to a game remains to be seen.

Coach Byron Scott wants Erden to get at least one more practice in before making a decision, but the Cavs won't practice again until Saturday in Portland. That rules him out for this week's games against Charlotte, Toronto and Minnesota.

Erden has been hurt since the Cavs acquired him in a trade deadline deal with the Boston Celtics last February. He initially had groin and shoulder injuries, then broke the thumb while playing overseas.

"I think we’re all pretty anxious to see him at full strength," Scott said, "just to see what we have."

There remains a chance Erden could appear in Sunday's game at Portland. The Cavs also have games at Utah, Phoenix, the Los Angels Lakers and at Charlotte on Jan. 16. After tomorrow night's home game against the Bobcats, the Cavs don't return to the Q until Jan. 17.

In other news...
The Cavs will get their first look Tuesday at Bobcats rookie Kemba Walker, which the team selected ninth overall in last summer's draft. Walker ranks sixth among rookies in scoring, averaging 9.7 points per game. His 3.3 assists rank fifth among rookies.

"Watching him at UConn, you can tell the kid can flat out score, he can get his own shot, create for other people," Scott said of Walker. "I didn't look at him as a true point guard, but when I watched him the last few games at UConn when they won the national title, he started to find a way to get his teammates involved, but still had the ability to take over a game ... Obviously we're going to have our hands full a little bit with him."

The Cavs are 2-2 to start the season and are taking advantage of a soft schedule. Six of their first seven opponents have just one victory at the start of Monday. The Cavs started 3-3 last season before everything fell apart and Scott concedes it's too early to really gauge progress.

"I don't think we can (gauge improvement) right now until we hit that road skid and come back from that," Scott said. "But I still feel pretty good about the way we're playing. I don’t look at other teams and their records, I just look at our progress and where we started from as far as the first game and the preseason to this point. I see areas where we have gotten much better."

Alonzo Gee is shooting 50 percent on 3-pointers (5 of 10) after making just 35 percent of them last year. Scott believes Gee is simply more comfortable in the system this season and looking for his shot more often.

"He took a few (3-pointers) last year, but he didn't look to shoot them as much as he looks to shoot them now," Scott said. "I think he's so much more comfortable in this system and so much more comfortable in what he can do on the basketball floor. I think his confidence level is extremely high right now."

Scott has no plans to start him, though. He remains committed to starting Omri Casspi at small forward.

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