Anderson Varejao has joined the Cavaliers' growing injury list and won't play Friday night at Golden State after injuring his right ankle during non-contact drills at practice on Thursday. Varejao says he'll be out five to 10 days, but Cavs coach Byron Scott didn't have an official prognosis.
Varejao joins Daniel Gibson (ankle) and Anthony Parker (back) as starters who won't play tonight. Neither will Joey Graham (right quad strain) or Leon Powe, who had surgery Friday to repair a torn meniscus and will miss at least six weeks. Gibson and Powe did not make the trip.
"It's devastating when you lose Andy. It was just as devastating when you lost Boobie," Scott said. "Now to lose Andy, the captain and anchor of that defense and the guy that does everything for us on the defensive end, it's devastating. It's hard."
Scott is expected to start Mo Williams, Manny Harris, Antawn Jamison and Ryan Hollins for sure. He's still debating between Alonzo Gee and Christian Eyenga at small forward.
The way Varejao explained it, his ankle rolled in when he stopped to turn around and continuing running his sprints. The fact he was badly injured during a non-contact drill only adds to the frustrating season. After having the league's best record last season, the Cavs now have the worst in the NBA.
Before Scott took the job, he envisioned a worst-case scenario and was still excited to take the job. Now the current situation is nearly passing what he envisioned to be a worst-case scenario.
"I didn't envision these types of injuries," Scott said. "But I'm equipped for this, I understand this, I'm able to deal with it. Every morning I wake up with a smile knowing that I'm going to work to get better as a coach and get these guys better as players. That's how I approach it. In the long run, it's going to benefit not only the players, but the whole organization."
The Cavs are down to 10 healthy bodies and will have to rely heavily on youngsters like Eyenga, Harris and Samardo Samuels. Given the current record, that might not be a bad thing. Few saw the season turning this badly so quickly, but it's obviously time to start getting a longer look at some of the younger players on the roster.
"It's a golden opportunity," Scott said. "You're on the big stage. Go out and play as hard as you can for as long as you can and we'll go from there."