On Saturday, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that center Walter Tavares suffered a fractured hand at Thursday’s practice during an informal scrimmage. As a result, the team will not practice between now and the start of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday.
Tavares isn’t the first Cavaliers center to get hurt during practice this year. Back in December, Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen tore his ACL at a Cavs practice.
The move to not scrimmage is one the players understand, even if it’s frustrating.
"Absolutely I wish he would (let us scrimmage), but at the same time I understand how important it is [to stay healthy]," said Kyrie Irving per cleveland.com. “An incident happened in practice where somebody got hit in the hand and it just wasn't good. I was about to come out and play five-on-five and the incident happened three seconds later as T-Lue comes out of the door. Naw, I'm not for scrimmaging right now until the game."
Lue, for for his part, said he knows he has to keep his players engaged. Per cleveland.com, he but the team through a defensive game where they had to identify plays run by either the Celtics or Wizards.
"You gotta keep them engaged and you know show them new things," Lue said. "I've got to trick them at times, but they've been pretty locked in and we've just got to continue to do what we do.”
As bored as the Cavs might be — and they are on their longest between round break ever in the second LeBron James era — Cleveland is probably best served avoiding any potential contact. Getting to the next round at full strength should be the top priority. Not scrimmaging probably hurts some, but it’s not something that will keep them from being at their best in the next round.