CLEVELAND: Anderson Varejao is determined to return to the Cavaliers this season and then the Olympics this summer.
Varejao said before Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons he intends to play for Brazil again this summer at the London Olympics despite a fractured wrist that has already cost him two months of the season. Even though the Cavs are out of playoff contention and the season is quickly ending, Varejao is adamant he wants to return to the Cavs this season and is expected to begin practicing within the next two weeks.
“Even if we don’t have a chance for the playoffs, I want to play,” Varejao said. “It’s what I get paid for. Last year I was hurt and got hurt this season, too. I want to play. This is what I love to do.”
Varejao injured his ankle playing for Brazil in an exhibition game prior to the world championships during the summer of 2010, then re-injured the ankle in January of last year and missed half the NBA season.
The wrist injury was a freak accident. He was swatted on the hand by the Milwaukee Bucks’ Drew Gooden, and it cost him two months.
“I knew it was going to take this long and I prepared myself for that,” he said. “But on top of that, it’s tough to be out and knowing there’s nothing you can do to help the team to win games.”
The Cavs’ bench has been depleted by the promotions of Alonzo Gee and Tristan Thompson into the starting lineup, the trade of Ramon Sessions and the injury to Daniel Gibson.
It has left coach Byron Scott with a patchwork unit that has struggled miserably to get the ball in the basket.
The Cavs had one of the most productive benches through the first half of the season, but it has produced less than 25 points in four out of six games since Sessions was traded.
As a result, Scott said the coaching staff again condensed the playbook and the reserves’ responsibilities in an effort to get more production out of them.
“I have to trust them and give them some time out there and I know that’s hard,” Scott said. “If it’s a tight game and all of a sudden [the deficit] goes to 10, they have to have some confidence in what they’re doing as well. I can’t play the starters 50 minutes a game, so they have to go in there and play with some confidence.”
Scott is making a conscious effort now to keep either Kyrie Irving or Antawn Jamison on the floor at all times to help with the scoring.
“They [the reserves] are just not getting anything going on the offensive end,” Scott said, “and that’s what’s killing us.”
Scott was thrilled to see old friend Earvin “Magic” Johnson was part of the ownership group that was awarded baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion.
Scott said Johnson was an avid baseball fan during his playing days, but he rooted for the Tigers after growing up in Michigan. Scott grew up in Los Angeles rooting for the Dodgers.
“He wants to own L.A. I don’t even want a piece of it,” Scott joked. “I’m fine where I am.”
Scott said he played on an AAU team as a kid with future baseball greats Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry. Davis was the point guard, and Scott was the shooting guard.
As kids, both Strawberry and Davis wanted to play in the NBA. Scott, a shortstop and pitcher, wanted to be a professional baseball player. Instead, Strawberry and Davis spent parts of their careers with the Dodgers and Scott played for the Lakers.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at https://ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.