UPDATE: The Cavaliers have announced that Tristan Thompson will miss Wednesday night’s game against the Celtics and Friday’s matchup with the Hawks, breaking his 447 game games played streak.
Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson has played in 447 consecutive games, the NBA’s longest streak.
Unfortunately for Thompson, Brian Windhorst is reporting that the streak may be in danger, as Thompson is set to have an MRI on his thumb after injuring it on Tuesday night against the Magic. Thompson didn’t travel with the team and his status against the Celtics is uncertain for tonight.
X-Rays were reportedly negative and the MRI is just a precaution, but with the playoffs this close, any injury to the Cavaliers depleted center corps is nerve-wracking for the team.
In related news, the Cavs have called Larry Sanders up from the D-League for the game against Boston, and reading between the lines tells you that there’s some concern about Thompson’s availability on Wednesday night.
Thompson will likely want to play to protect his ironman streak, but if the injury isn’t too major, this could be a blessing in disguise. Thompson could likely use some rest. A full season at center has clearly worn Thompson down and it makes sense that he could use a break. He’s still effective for the Cavaliers, but the Cavaliers defense sort of goes as Thompson does, so if he’s operating at 80 percent of his normal efficiency, then the Cavaliers really struggle to replicate his specific production for the team.
If the thumb injury is major, it’s an enormous blow for the Cavs. Thompson can switch onto guards with tremendous skill, is one of the best three or four offensive rebounders in the NBA and has really worked on his rim protection. He’s also become a much more effective roll man in the pick and roll than he was earlier in the year, and he’s comfortably one of the most valuable players on the team.
If the thumb is just sore for a while, then that’s something that the Cavaliers can likely deal with. I’ve joked that Tristan Thompson is one of three or four players in the league that could wear an NFL-style club on his hand if he needed to and still be fairly effective.
We’ll keep you updated as we hear more on Thompson’s availability ahead of tonight’s game, but it’s my guess that we won’t see him tonight and that could force the rest of the Cavaliers hand in terms of punting this matchup in favor of extra rest.