CLEVELAND (AP) — For the second straight season Anderson Varejao won’t cross the finish line with the Cavaliers.
Cleveland’s hustling center was shut down for the remainder of the season on Friday by the Cavs because he’s still has soreness around his broken right wrist.
Varejao broke his wrist on Feb. 10 against Milwaukee, and while the fracture has healed, the area close to his wrist was causing him discomfort. It’s the second straight year Varejao has had his season cut short. Last year, he played in just 31 games before tearing a tendon in his right foot and needing surgery.
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“It’s terrible that I’m not going to be able to play this season,” Varejao. “The good thing is the bone is healed now. I’m going to keep working out. Unfortunately I can’t play this season anymore, but I’m very excited for the Olympics.”
Varejao intends to play for Brazil in this summer’s London Games.
The Cavs initially thought Varejao would miss no more than eight weeks, but Vareajo’s symptoms never completely subsided and the team decided to end his season with five games remaining.
“After talking to Andy today after his workout, the rehabilitation is going well, it’s just going slow and he has some stiffness in there and a little pain in there that he can’t seem to shake,” coach Byron Scott said. “So, again, not risking putting him out there when he’s not 110 percent. It’s just easier for us to shut him down and get him ready for next season.”
Varejao was having an All-Star-caliber season, averaging 10.8 points and 11.5 rebounds before getting hurt.
The Cavs went 10-26 without Varejao, who has been a huge fan favorite since Cleveland acquired him in a 2004 trade with Orlando. Scott doesn’t like to think about “what ifs” but is convinced the Cavs would closer to a playoff spot if Varejao had played more and Kyrie Irving and Anthony Parker hadn’t missed significant time.
“If you have a healthy Andy for the whole season, and a healthy Kyrie and I think AP missed 16 games I don’t know, you’re probably looking at 10, 12, 15 more wins,” Scott said.
The Cavs can’t tell Varejao not play in the Olympics. However, Scott said his preference would be for Varejao to skip the games if his wrist is hurting. Varejao has previously been injured while playing for his national team.
“The one thing about guys playing for their country, I understand that,” Scott said. “I wouldn’t discourage it one bit. That’s something that has nothing to do with me.”