You have got to feel bad for Anderson Varejao and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers announced on Wednesday that Varejao needs knee surgery and will be out for another six to eight week. The 6-11 forward/center has been out of the lineup since he hurt his knee in a Dec. 18 game against the Toronto Raptors.
When the Cavaliers originally announced the injury in December it didn’t seem like it would be too bad. But now it looks like Varejao will be out until at least the end of February, and this is crushing news for several reasons.
First of all, Varejao was having an All-Star caliber season, and Cavaliers fans were hoping he would get some recognition for his outstanding play and hard work.
In 25 games this season, Varejao has averaged 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds per game, which makes him the current NBA leader in rebounding.
Varejao has become a much better offensive player in recent years, and Head Coach Byron Scott encouraged him to score more this season. The big man with the big hair has always been a great hustle player and defender, and he has continued this season to play great defense, fight for every rebound and work hard whenever he is in the game.
Now that he is going to be out for an extended period of time, his chances of going to an All-Star game and getting more national recognition are over for this year.
Another terrible part about this injury is that it makes the third straight season that Varejao has missed most of the year due to health problems. In the 2010-2011 season, he played in 31 games and last season he played in just 25. The injuries have not been related, so hopefully Varejao will recover from this latest problem and be fine next season, but it has got to be frustrating to be hurt so often.
For the Cavaliers, Varejao has been one of the team’s best players, if not the best at times this season. Having him out for six to eight more weeks is going to make it tough for this struggling young team to win some games. The Cavaliers have good young players in the post, but they are a much better team when Varejao is on the floor for much of the game.
Also for the Cavaliers, this hurts the chances of trading Varejao to a contender during the season for a high draft pick or good young player. Varejao would definitely be coveted by a lot of teams, and the Cavaliers may have wanted to move him this year in order to get more young players to build for the future. They still may be able to trade Varejao during the summer, but they probably could have gotten a lot by trading a healthy Varejao to a contender during the season.
Finally for the fans, it’s just tough to see Varejao hurt and out of the lineup again. He always seems to play hard and contest every rebound, and it’s fun to watch him play. It has been especially exciting this year with Varejao scoring more and having some outstanding games. He’ll be back later in the season hopefully, but it’s too bad that he is hurt again now.