Cavs' Tristan Thompson (thumb) won't play against Celtics

Cavs' Tristan Thompson (thumb) won't play against Celtics

BOSTON -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are no different than most title chasers who want to get their core players some rest before the playoffs.
But this is probably not what they had in mind.
Tristan Thompson is not with the Cavs as they prepare to face the Boston Celtics tonight.
Thompson will reportedly have an MRI performed today after suffering a thumb injury in Cleveland’s win over Orlando on Tuesday.
This will be the first game he has missed since Feb. 10, 2012, a span of 477 games which was the longest then-current streak of games played in the NBA.
The absence of Thompson is indeed a blow to a Cavs team which comes in having won three in a row.
In addition to his near double-double numbers (9.4 points, 8.7 rebounds) as Cleveland’s fourth option (at best), the Cavs will miss the intangibles he brings to the game such as hustle for loose balls, deflections and the ability to protect the rim.
And he has really been effective against Boston this season, averaging a double-double of 11.7 points and 12.0 rebounds per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.
Boston has injury concerns of its own heading into tonight’s game.
In Boston’s 110-94 win at New York on Sunday, Jae Crowder suffered a left elbow injury that he didn’t notice until the third quarter. After watching the game on replay two times, Crowder said he still doesn’t know how or when the injury occurred.
The Celtics held Crowder out of practice on Tuesday, although he did do some light shooting prior to practice starting. When speaking with the media on Tuesday, Crowder said there’s still some swelling in the elbow and that he wasn’t sure if he was going to play tonight.
“I got an MRI (Monday),” Crowder said. “No structural damage. So that’s pretty good. Very, very tender and sore right now. I’ll wake up (today) with a better since of if I can play.”

Irving's procedure means Celtics may add player via 'hardship roster exception'

Irving's procedure means Celtics may add player via 'hardship roster exception'

With Kyrie Irving undergoing a “minimally invasive procedure” on Saturday, the Boston Celtics may look to add a player via the “hardship roster exception” that only teams that are significantly impacted by injuries, are eligible for. 

MORE - Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

The Celtics won’t have a clear sense of what the timetable will be for Irving’s return until after his procedure is performed. 

But it’s likely to be at least a couple weeks which at the earliest would put Irving’s return just before the playoffs. 

In order to qualify for the NBA’s hardship roster exception, at least four players must miss a minimum of three consecutive games, and later be deemed to be out for an additional two weeks. 

Gordon Hayward (dislocated left ankle) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus, left knee) are out for the season, and Marcus Smart (right thumb) recently underwent surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least another five weeks. 

An independent doctor will determine if the extent of the aforementioned injuries as well as the recovery time for Irving, meet the two-week criteria to be eligible for the hardship roster exception. 

Once that’s determined, Boston will be given a hardship roster exception to use on a player for the remainder of the regular season but won’t be eligible for the postseason. 

If Boston does add a player, look for him to come from the Gatorade League, possibly their G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. 

Boston has a collection of guards who have helped fill the void left by Irving’s absence, but Boston has not been able to address the loss of Daniel Theis. 

Keep an eye on former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 16.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Red Claws this season. 

MORE - Hayward gives update on rehab

Boston has a 45-day cap on the use of its two-way players with the parent team, but that limitation ends tomorrow which means guard/forward Jabari Bird and guard Kadeem Allen can earn the league minimum for every day they are with the Celtics going forward in the regular season. That can provide some depth to a Celtics team that because of injuries, can use every healthy body they can find.


Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

Kyrie Irving could be back on the court in time for the Celtics to begin the playoffs.

Or not.

Irving will have what the Celts are describing as a "minimally invasive procedure" on his injured left knee Saturday. NBC Sports Boston talked to Dr. Christopher Chihlas from Southcoast Health -- who has not examined Irving but is familiar with his type of injury -- about how long Irving may be sidelined.

"A minimally invasive procedure is basically an arthroscopy," said Dr. Chihlas. "His return to play is mostly dependent on what is done . . . If it's just a cleanout, as we're being told, then -- best-case scenario -- we could see him back playing in three to four weeks."

But, he added, "it could be double that . . . depending upon what exactly is found . . . 

"The key here is the patella fracture (which Irving suffered during the 2015 playoffs). My feeling is that he's suffering a bit of the consequence of the patella fracture, which is a fracture into the knee joint . . . [He] may need to have this done periodically to get him through the rest of his career."