David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to have forward Anderson Varejao return to practice on Tuesday, but the NBA's leading rebounder was again absent because of a knee injury.
Anderson Varejao had seemingly made progress on returning from a bruised right knee in the past few weeks, but on Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers forward didn't participate in practice. Head coach Byron Scott told The Cleveland Plain Dealer that the NBA's leading rebounder wouldn't play Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Cleveland coach appeared pessimistic about the return of Varejao, who was reportedly going to return to practice on Tuesday:
Byron Scott not sure when to expect Varejao back at this point. "I'm still optimistic that he'll be able to play this year," he said. #Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) January 8, 2013
To be clear, before the "this year" comment on Varejao, Byron said, "I'm hoping I'm not talking like it's long-term or for the season."#Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) January 8, 2013
Varejao hasn't played in a game since he injured his knee on Dec. 18 against the Toronto Raptors, and missing the game against the Hawks will be his 11th straight absence.
The forward is averaging 14.1 points and a league-best 14.4 rebounds per game. During Varejao's absence, second-year forward Tristan Thompson has played well in increased minutes, recording seven double-doubles since the injury to his teammate.
The Cavaliers were also without wingman C.J. Miles on Tuesday because of back spasms. He is expected to be available on Wednesday.