Cavaliers starting point guard Mo Williams will miss at least one
month with a sprained left shoulder, a major blow to the Eastern
Conference’s top team.
An MRI revealed the sprain and the Cavs said that Williams,
who has played in 124 of a possible 125 games since joining
Cleveland before last season, is projected to be out for the “next
four to six weeks” – a timetable that could keep him out until the
first week in March.
Williams is the club’s second-leading scorer and top
playmaker other than LeBron James. His loss figures to test the
Cavs like nothing else so far this season.
“It’s huge,” James said before Thursday’s showdown with the
Los Angeles Lakers. “The last two years a lot of the reason for the
success we’ve had as a team is because Mo has been our point guard.
He has been the guy that has kept us under wraps and played in
almost every single game. When you lose an All-Star point guard it
hurts. It hurts a lot.
“Guys got to step up. Guys have no choice but to step up.”
Williams injured his shoulder in Tuesday night’s win over
Toronto when he reached for a steal in the third quarter and banged
into a few Raptors players. He was taken to the locker room for an
examination and treatment before returning to the floor and making
a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland coach Mike Brown said it is his understanding that
rest should take care of Williams’ injury. It’s not likely he will
On Tuesday, the Cavs initially said Williams had sustained a
strain, but changed the diagnosis to a sprain, which indicates
there is a tear in the shoulder.
Williams, who was an All-Star last season – his first with
Cleveland – scored a team-high 28 points in the Cavaliers’
Christmas Day win over the Lakers.
Delonte West, who is more of a shooting guard, will start in
place of Williams and Daniel Gibson will return to the rotation
after having his minutes reduced in recent weeks. West will be
making his first start this season.
“It’s tough,” Brown said. “But we feel like we have a deep
team. It’s unfortunate Mo got hurt because he was playing really
well for us and was in a rhythm. We have to see if we can hold the
fort down until he’s able to come back.”
Losing Williams will hurt the Cavs in a variety of ways. He
is one of the NBA’s best three-throw (90 percent) and 3-point
shooters (43 percent).
Cleveland (32-11) entered Thursday’s game against the Lakers
with a 3 1/2-game lead over Boston for the East’s best record.