The Cavaliers announced earlier this month that Zeller had appendix surgery and would be out indefinitely. He had been out with an injured hip after falling in an intrasquad scrimmage, as well. Others who have had a similar procedure as Zeller have been out for as many as three to six weeks.
As a second-year center, the Cavaliers are hoping Zeller won’t be out for long and can return to improve on a rookie season that was mediocre in most regards, although he did average 7.0 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. He also averaged 26.4 minutes per game and shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 76.4 percent from the free-throw line.
The Cavaliers will use Zeller a lot at center if he can develop some consistency and stay healthy.
He is credited for having a nice touch around the basket and he did get invited to USA Basketball’s training camp in Las Vegas this summer.
While Andrew Bynum recovers from a knee injury, Zeller was expected to play a key role at center. He still could, but he’ll need to have a speedy recovery once he returns to the lineup.
His absence will allow the Cavaliers to experiment with some more forward combinations. But Zeller, especially if he improves his aggressiveness, can be a valuable asset for a franchise relying on youth to take this Cleveland team back to the playoffs. His defensive play can make the Cavaliers more of a force to reckon with underneath the basket, as the team will force opponents to work harder for points.