CLEVELAND: On the night Kyrie Irving felt strong enough to return from a knee injury, Tyler Zeller and Dion Waiters weren’t at the arena for Monday’s game against the New York Knicks.
Zeller and Waiters battled a stomach virus that was so bad, both were taken to a hospital Saturday night. The virus ripped through the rest of the organization, too, affecting a number of the wives and girlfriends of various players and coaches. Trainer Max Benton was also struck by the bug and missed Monday’s game.
“It’s some type of virus that hit those guys,” coach Byron Scott said. “It’s something with the stomach. It’s just something going around.”
It was the ninth game Waiters has missed this season and the fifth for Zeller. Tristan Thompson and Alonzo Gee are the only Cavs to have played in every game this season.
Irving feeling better
Irving returned Monday after missing three games with a hyperextended right knee, but said if it was the playoffs or important games near the end of the season, he could’ve played through the injury.
“I landed awkwardly. It was just a deep bruise,” Irving said. “When I was playing in Orlando and Miami I could feel it, but I was obviously just trying to play through it. It was really limiting my ability to go to the basket and have that confidence in getting there and jumping off my right leg. I just needed a few days of rest.”
Irving said he’s not 100 percent, but he’s close. He did not wear a brace or protective sleeve on the knee and no one expected his minutes to be limited, although Scott said he’d be monitoring Irving closely.
After working straight through All-Star weekend, the six days off served as much needed rest for his entire body and not just his knee.
“I guess it came at the right time,” Irving said. “I didn’t really ask for it. It just happened, but I got a little rest.”
Irving scored 10 points in the first quarter Monday to become the ninth player in history to reach 2,000 points before turning 21. The rest of the list includes LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury. Irving turns 21 in three weeks.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had a tremendous year financially, according to Forbes, which projected his net worth at $3.5 billion — up from $1.5 billion last year. Gilbert leaped 470 rungs on Forbes’ rankings to No. 384.
While the opening of his casinos across the state have certainly helped — he attended Monday’s opening of Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati — Forbes also reported that Gilbert’s primary company, Quicken Loans, closed $70 billion in loans in 2012. That’s up from $30 billion in 2011.
Gilbert has a part of about 40 businesses between Cleveland and Detroit.
The Cavs began Monday 9-2 in their last 11 games against the Eastern Conference. They’ve won six consecutive against the East at home. … Thompson leads the Cavs with 20 double-doubles. In his last 33 games prior to Monday, Thompson had 15 double-doubles while averaging 13.6 points and 10.5 rebounds.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.