On paper, the Cleveland Cavaliers are a team that has a chance to turn things around in the 2013-2014 NBA season and make a run at a playoff spot. With their haul from the past few NBA Drafts and the additions that they have made this summer in free agency, there’s no denying the talent of this Cavs team.
Obviously, it all begins with their star point guard Kyrie Irving, who may be on the precipice of becoming a bon-a-fide superstar in this league. Moreover, additions like Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack to a solid cast of supporting players like Dion Waiter, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and rookie Anthony Bennett make this team potentially even more dangerous.
However, there is one thing that has to scare this franchise and Cavaliers fans: injuries. Injuries are normal in the NBA and they are something that every NBA team has to deal with on a season-by-season basis. Not every team has as many players with troubling injury histories as the Cavs do.
The most obvious injury-prone player on Cleveland’s roster is Bynum, their newly acquired center. When healthy, Bynum is an elite big man in this league. The problem is that he hasn’t been healthy all that often in his career. Even excluding the fact that he missed all of last season with a knee injury, Bynum has played 60 or more games in just three of the seven seasons that he’s spent in the league.
Bynum isn’t alone, though. The rookie Bennett is still recovering from shoulder surgery he had after the college season, which could potentially resurface. Varejao is another player who missed the majority of last season and that has an unfriendly history of injuries over his career.
The wildcard in terms of injuries for Cleveland, though, is Kyrie. In his first two seasons, Irving has already missed a combined 38 games due to various injuries. Couple that with the fact that he missed most of his one year at Duke with an injury and it seems like a concerning trend might be developing. Having Bynum, Bennett or Varejao go down would hurt this team, but having Irving go down again would be devastating.
It’s impossible to predict injuries, even with trends that have developed over past seasons. However, it does seem like the Cavs are taking a lot of risks with injury-prone players this season and are crossing their fingers that Irving isn’t a member of that class of players. If Irving or some of the Cavs’ complimentary players do fall victim to injuries, though, it could hurt their chances to really turn things around.
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