By Ryan Lewis
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers haven’t had a lot of luck with health this season, primarily with illnesses.
Rookie forward Anthony Bennett, the latest to come down with a sickness, was able to return Monday night against the Detroit Pistons after missing the past two games.
He joins Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters as Cavs who have been limited by an illness at some point this season.
Bennett, who has asthma, said on Monday that playing through an illness is particularly hard for him. It’s part of the reason why he said he’s never played through something like this.
“It’s hard for me because my asthma acts up 50 times more,” Bennett said. “Me going up and down the court twice would just be terrible. Every time I’m sick, it’s always harder to get my conditioning back. I just have to push through it, though.”
At one point while answering questions from reporters, Bennett had to excuse himself while he got rid of some phlegm. He also said he’s lost five pounds and is now at 240 pounds, so regaining his conditioning might be a challenge.
“I don’t know who gave it to me, but it’s the worst,” Bennett said.
Cavs coach Mike Brown said that Bennett will resume his regular role in the rotation, provided he’s healthy enough to play his normal minutes.
Waiters isn’t sick but missed his third consecutive game with tendinitis in his right wrist. He was wearing a brace on that wrist in the locker room before the game.
Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks, speaking before Monday’s game, said there are some similarities between Irving and former Pistons hall of fame guard Isiah Thomas.
But they’re just similarities. The hard part is playing at that high of a level for as long as Thomas did, Cheeks said.
“The way Kyrie plays, the way Isiah could handle the ball, the way he could score, they have some similar games,” he said. “He [Irving] has very good potential to be one of the best. But Isiah did it for years and years. And Isiah’s game, he was dribbling like Kyrie is now. Just don’t show Kyrie any of those [highlights] tonight.”
Brown said backup center Tyler Zeller has been doing enough in practice to warrant more playing time in games. But even with Zeller performing well in practice, it’s still a struggle to find playing time for him.
“The tough part is that Tyler has been playing very well in practice and the few minutes he’s gotten here and there in games, he’s played well,” Brown said. “But Earl [Clark] has played well for us too. And the same with Andy [Varejao] and Tristan [Thompson] and [Andrew] Bynum. In the 4 and 5 position, you have a total of 96 minutes. To split 96 minutes up five ways is impossible. Nobody will get a rhythm. ... If I can throw him out there in some way, shape or form, I will, because he’s definitely worked his tail off.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavaliers blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.