Cavs' mascot injured in pretend fight

April 12, 2012

Moondog doesn’t bark or bite, but the Cleveland Cavaliers’ mascot does like to horse around. On Wednesday, his playfulness resulted in a quick trip to the veterinarian — er, hospital.

The incident took place before the Cavs’ home game against the Indiana Pacers. Moondog staged his usual routine of play-fighting with a player from the opposing team. In this case, the player was Pacers forward David West.

No video or details of the fake clash were available, but the performer who becomes Moondog was spotted running through the bowels of Quicken Loans Arena with a towel over his eye. The performer was treated and released from the hospital, according to team officials.

West was apologetic afterward.

“He jumped at me, and I thought we were playing around. Next thing I know he went down,” West said. “It was definitely an accident.”

Moondog should return for the Cavs’ next home game, Sunday vs. the Orlando Magic. The Cavs lost Wednesday 104-96 in overtime.

West took a little ribbing from his Pacers teammates but seemed to take the matter seriously.

“I felt terrible about that. I really do,” West said. “We were just having fun before the game, just messing around. I really hope he’s OK. Make sure he knows I’m sorry.”

Moondog has been the Cavs’ mascot since 2003. His name is a play on famous Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, credited with popularizing the phrase “rock 'n' roll." Freed went by the nickname "Moondog."

Many who perform as professional sports mascots earn close to or even more than $100,000 per year.

There are rumors circulating that some former mascots are putting together a “tell all” book about their experiences providing entertainment for NBA fans.

Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO