When the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Miami Heat tonight, they might not be at full strength.
At Friday’s shootaround, the team announced that Kevin Love is questionable with lower back spasms and J.R. Smith is questionable with a hyperextended left knee. Both Love and Smith did take part in today’s shootaround.
Additionally, Channing Frye has been excused from the team for the Heat game and Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets due for personal reasons.
Kevin Love (lower back spasms) and J.R. Smith (L knee hyperextension) are both questionable for the Miami game, per the Cavs.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 9, 2016
Channing Frye is excused by the Cavs for the next two games against Miami and Charlotte. He will not be with the team.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 9, 2016
Against the Heat, not having Love and Frye would leave the Cavs thin up front. Chris Andersen is the team’s only other big coming off the bench, but Cleveland would likely compensate by playing Richard Jefferson more at the four spot and going small for longer stretches. At shooting guard, DeAndre Liggins would likely again take Smith’s spot in the starting lineup.
For both players, maintaining their overall health is far more important than winning a game against a Heat team that is dealing with its own injuries and is one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
Love is coming off a 21 point performance in the Cavs’ win against the New York Knicks. Smith has not played since hurting his knee on Monday during the first quarter of the Cavs game against the Toronto Raptors.