The Cavs simply cannot catch a break.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who were already plagued by injuries, lost another four players, most significant of which was Larry Nance Jr., to various ailments during Sunday’s 119-110 loss to the Washington Wizards.
Nance’s injury, a broken right thumb that will likely keep him out for the remainder of the season, is the most serious and was particularly unfortunate for both team and player. For the team, they lose a major contributor on both ends of the floor who has averaged 30+ minutes this season.
For the player, it’s another in a long list of setbacks during this campaign. Nance recently missed seven games in April with an undisclosed illness which was confirmed to not be COVID-19. Before that the 28-year-old missed a dozen straight games in February with a broken left hand. Nance missed six additional games this season with various other ailments.
In 35 appearances during this campaign, 27 of which were starts, Nance averaged 9.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 dimes, 1.7 steals, and 1.3 triples on a decent 47/36/61 shooting line.
Three other players got themselves hurt against the Wizards on Sunday too, though they don’t contribute nearly as much as Nance did on the court.
Veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova, who missed the first three months of the season with a concussion and an appendectomy, was back for 13 games before going right back on the disabled list. This time because of a neck strain and the four stitches he just had put in after an accidental headbutt. The Australian national has averaged 2.8 points and 4.5 dimes since returning.
Center Isaiah Hartenstein and forward Lamar Stevens both suffered concussions on Sunday as well, which will keep both of them out at least a few games as they go through the league’s concussion protocols.
Stevens, a rookie, has averaged 4.1 points on 46 percent shooting in 40 appearances this season while the big man Hartenstein has been putting up 8.7 points and 6.6 rebounds a night on 63 percent from the floor in his 14 games since arriving via trade from Denver in March.
This all after losing their best player and leading scorer, point guard Collin Sexton, for at least a week after he apparently also suffered a concussion (those aren’t contagious are they?) in their loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night despite playing 34 minutes and finishing the game. He started exhibiting symptoms the next day, at which point he entered the league’s concussion protocol.
The Cavaliers are already one of the worst teams in the NBA, with their 21-39 record representing the sixth-worst mark in the association this season, so they really didn’t need anymore adversity. This late in the season, they have comically astronomical odds to win the NBA Championship, sitting tied with the Thunder, Magic, Kings, and Pistons at +100,000 NBA odds you just don’t see every day.
They predictably enter their contest with the Toronto Raptors on Monday night as big-time underdogs, which shouldn’t be surprising considering their lack of bodies. Toronto could be a top pick for the Monday night NBA slate if the spread remains in single digits.