With less than a week to go before the start of the regular season, Cleveland Cavalier center Timofey Mozgov is still bothered by his surgically repaired knee. After detailing a scene late in practice today where Mozgov showed frustration, Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com relayed the Russian center's source of contention:
"My knee is not -- I wish it could be like it's not bothering me, but it is what it is," Mozgov said. "It's bothering me, but we're still working on it. Not before the first game, but in the close future, we will be good. I hope so."
Haynes goes onto note that Mozgov averaged nearly 25 minutes per game during the preseason. Given that he has never averaged 26 minutes per game at any point in his career, this is a pretty good sign. Asking him to do much more than that figures to be unwise while he isn't healthy. While Kevin Love has looked good so far, he too is coming off surgery. The healthy centers the Cavs have behind Mozgov are Anderson Varejao and Sasha Kaun. Varejao is coming off of his own surgery, and Kaun has never played in the NBA before.
The Cavs would love to be able to rely on Mozgov to soak up big minutes throughout the year. They are in a bit of a danger zone where they can't ask him to do too much, too soon. Anderson Varejao is going to get every opportunity to prove he still has a place in this league. We will see how it goes. If you're looking for a rant on Tristan Thompson, you're not going to get it. The Cavs know what Mozgov's situation is, they know what their situation with Thompson is. It isn't advisable to change the structure of five year deals just on the basis of November injuries. At least, it probably isn't.