CLEVELAND (AP) — The season is barely a week old and the Cleveland Cavaliers are already down two big men.
Rookie Tyler Zeller returned to Cleveland on Wednesday for further evaluation after sustaining a concussion and broken cheekbone when Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan elbowed him in the face in the Cavs' 108-101 win Monday night. In that same game, center Anderson Varejao bruised his right knee in the first quarter.
Varejao played through the pain on adrenaline but his knee swelled up later. He sat out Cleveland's game at the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night because of soreness. The Cavs said it's unclear when either will return.
"Tyler was playing great. We know how Andy was playing, unbelievable. You lose not only two of your best players, you lose your size as well," Scott said before his team faced the Warriors. "Again, we just got other guys who are going to come in and try to pick up the slack for what both those guys brought to the table."
With Varejao sidelined, Scott started Samardo Samuels at forward and Tristan Thompson at center against Golden State. Both are expected to play more minutes at center while Varejao and Zeller are out.
Varajeo has averaged 14 points and 15 rebounds in four games this season. As if his loss wasn't enough of a setback, news earlier in the afternoon handed Cleveland another blow.
Zeller was hit under the left eye by Jordan with 5:39 left in the fourth quarter against the Clippers. X-rays taken after the game in Los Angeles were negative, but a CT scan performed in San Francisco revealed a non-displaced fracture of his left orbital cheekbone.