Mo Williams (groin) and Anderson Varejao (ribs) participated in the first 30-45 minutes of practice, Byron Scott said, but it was mostly conditioning. They sat out the contact portion while recovering from their injuries. Both are questionable for tomorrow night against the Sixers.
Scott acknowledged that Williams' groin injury doesn't seem as serious as the last one, which forced him out of most of training camp and the first three games of the season.
The Cavs desperately miss Varejao's rebounding when he's not in there. Antawn Jamison is the team's most consistent rebounder behind Varejao, but the Cavs need more out of J.J. Hickson. Scott stressed that it's not just Hickson, everybody needs to do their share. But there's no doubt Hickson has plenty of work to do on the glass.
After Saturday's loss to the Pacers, when Hickson had just two rebounds, he said he was boxing out like he was supposed to and doing all the right things, the ball just wasn't bouncing his way. After reviewing the tape, Scott disagreed.
"Not from what I saw on the tape, not unless we got a different copy," Scott said. "I didn't really see the boxing out. He's kind of there and he's looking and watching the ball. As we always say, 'Don't watch the birds fly.' You have to find a body and hit him first, then go get the ball. J.J. is like a lot of young 22-year-olds who think their athleticisim is going to get it all done. But technique is very important when it comes to blocking out. I think he’s going to get to the point where he understands that a lot better."
Hickson seems to be growing frustrated with the rebounding issue. Told that Scott didn't think he was boxing out, Hickson said: "I don't know what he's talking about." He still believes he was boxing out the way he should be doing it.
"I know what he's looking for," Hickson said. "I think I am (doing it)."
Bottom line: The sooner Varejao can get back, the better.
* To emphasize his point of trust and ball movement, Scott forced the players to make four to five passes before taking a shot in practice. Next time he'll bring out folding chairs for the players to dribble between and get himself thrown out of a game so Shooter has to coach home a victory (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, rent Hoosiers immediately).
* The Cavs, the team that used to lose four games at home in a season, have now lost four IN A ROW at home. They haven't done that since that dreadful 2002-03 season which ended with 17 victories and the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. I'm going to be bold now and predict that the Cavs surpass that mark. Takes guts, I know.
* That said, the Cavs have to find a way to play better at home, particularly if they want to continue playing in front of near-capacity crowds. The tickets are sold, but the fans don't have to show up -- just ask the Browns last season. "We all know that this is new to us, but we have to understand that if we want to be a playoff team, you have to protect home court," Boobie Gibson said. "The fans have been there and the vibes in the arena have been in there. We have to play off that and use it."
* The NBA Development League begins its regular season on Thursday. The Cavs' affiliate, Erie, begins its season on Friday, which begs the question of how much longer Christian Eyenga will remain in Cleveland. The Cavs' top pick from last season has been inactive for all nine games thus far. But until Williams and Varejao return, the Cavs may need him for practice purposes. "With a young man like Christian you want to get him on the floor and get him some playing time," Scott said. "If we can’t do that in our games, the best thing is the D-League. Right now with Mo and Andy being out, bodies are short so we need him here. But we’ll discuss that and see what’s best for him because we do need to get him playing basketball."