Did someone put a photo of Anderson Varejao on the cover of Sports Illustrated or the Madden football video game recently? That’s about the only thing I can think of to explain his terrible luck.
The Cleveland Cavaliers announced on Monday that Varejao, who was already out of action due to a torn leg muscle that required surgery, now has a blood clot in his lower right lung and will miss the rest of the season.
This is obviously terrible news for the Cavaliers and Varejao, who will now miss the majority of a season for the third straight year. None of the injuries in the last three years have been related.
The last time that Varejao was healthy for the bulk of a season was when LeBron James was still a member of the Cavaliers. If that seems like a long time ago, it is.
Varejao is one of the few veterans on the Cavaliers, and he was having an All-Star caliber season before he was injured. The 6-11 forward/center was averaging 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds, and was leading the league in rebounding.
He became much more of an offensive presence this season, as the big man from Brazil was often driving to the rim and looking for different ways to score. He was also doing an excellent job at passing the ball and keeping the offense moving.
On the defensive end, Varejao was a significant presence in the middle as he was blocking shots and contesting seemingly every rebound.
Rookie forward/center Tyler Zeller and second-year forward Tristan Thompson have served as the Cavaliers’ main post players, while Varejao has been sidelined. Zeller and Thompson have both played well, but they would both be much better off if they had Varejao playing beside them.
As a rookie, Zeller is still learning the NBA game and most likely would be more effective as a reserve player. He is doing well as a starter, but it would have been better for the team if the Cavaliers could have eased him in by bringing him off the bench.
Thompson is also doing very well scoring and rebounding inside, but there is a lot more pressure on him to be a force inside with Varejao out.
As a veteran, Varejao knows the tricks of defense and rebounding, and he makes the game easier for the other Cavaliers’ post players.
Having Zeller start also depletes the number of big men on the bench. Really, the Cavaliers don’t have any consistent post players to bring in when Zeller and Thompson need to rest. The bench players hustle and can bring some positive aspects, but they lack the size and ability of Zeller, Thompson and Varejao.
The only positive to Varejao being out is that it is giving Thompson and Zeller a huge amount of playing time and experience. It is also giving the bench players the opportunity to step up and show the coaches what they can do.
For Cavaliers fans, though, it’s just depressing to know that Varejao is going to be out for the rest of the season. The big man with the big hair was having a great season and was helping the team in numerous ways.
Everyone knew before the season started that the Cavaliers are young and would struggle this year, but having Varejao out once again makes it that much tougher for the team to win. It also takes a fan favorite off of the court, and Cavaliers fans are left hoping that he’ll be healthy and ready to play for the Wine and Gold next season.