Wizards

Cavs C Varejao needs surgery, may miss 2 months

201301091131415168043-p2.jpeg

Cavs C Varejao needs surgery, may miss 2 months

CLEVELAND (AP) Anderson Varejao's big body has betrayed him again.

Cleveland's hustling center needs surgery to repair a muscle that split near his right knee, which could cause him to miss two more months - a major setback for a young Cavaliers team struggling through another miserable season.

The NBA's leading rebounder, Varejao was injured Dec. 18 against Toronto. The injury was initially diagnosed as only a bruised right knee, but as his symptoms persisted, more tests were performed and revealed a ``longitudinal split'' between Varejao's quadriceps and knee.

Varejao will have surgery on Thursday at The Cleveland Clinic, and the team said he will be sidelined a minimum of six to eight weeks. The team said Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo., provided a second opinion on the injury.

``We're losing one of our best guys on and off the floor. He's the heart and soul of our basketball team,'' Cavs coach Byron Scott said. ``This is a big-time blow. I'm just trying to keep him in the best of spirits because it's been three straight years of getting some type of injury that's just derailed him. This is the biggest because he has been playing so well.''

Varejao has missed over 100 games in the past three seasons with significant injuries. He sat out 51 games in 2011 with a torn ligament in his foot and was sidelined for 41 games last season after breaking his wrist.

``Three years ... it's unbelievable,'' a frustrated Varejao said before Wednesday night's game against Atlanta. ``It's like, `Why again? Why me?' It's something I don't have control of. All I can do is keep working. Right now focus on my rehab to get better as soon as possible.''

One of the NBA's scrappiest players, Varejao was playing at an All-Star level when he banged his knee last month and went down with what appeared to be a routine injury.

However, it's much worse and the Cavs are again without an important piece as they try to rebuild.

``I tried to come back,'' Varejao said. ``I was working every day. We did some more tests and they saw some other stuff that I don't think it's bad, but I need surgery just to fix it.''

Varejao, who is confident he will return this season, doesn't think the injury got worse during his attempted comeback.

``We don't know how long it's going to take to heal,'' he said. ``Rehab and still having pain that's not letting me play. It was getting better but I had a second opinion, talked to the doctors here.''

The Cavs have gone 3-7 this season without Varejao, who was to miss his 11th straight game Wednesday. Cleveland has had more than its share of injuries in the past few seasons. Point guard Kyrie Irving, the reigning rookie of the year, missed 11 games earlier this season with a broken finger and is one of three Cavs who have had to wear protective masks for broken facial bones.

Scott has only had his full complement of players for seven games this season. The Cavs are 8-28 heading into Wednesday night's game against Atlanta.

``It's real tough,'' Scott said. ``You're disappointed, frustrated and (ticked) off. You have so many different emotions going through your head, but what can you do? Everybody in this league has to deal with injuries and we've had to deal with them for three straight years. You just got to keep playing hard with the guys that you have and try to get them better.''

The Cavs were expected to explore trade possibilities for the 6-foot-11 Varejao to acquire more future draft picks. But now that he's hurt, the team is stuck and has to hope youngsters like Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller improve with more playing time.

``When you have a big blow like this, you're going to have guys get a golden opportunity,'' Scott said. ``When you have an injury like this, there is always a silver lining.''

Varejao was averaging 14.4 rebounds and was making a strong push to appear in his first All-Star Game. He is under contract with the Cavs for two more seasons, with the club holding an option for 2014-15.

Scott had not spoken to Varejao, who he knows is hurting.

``I don't even know if I'll talk to him,'' Scott said. ``I'll probably go up to him and give him a hug and tell him, ``It's going to be OK.''

---

AP Freelance Writer Steve Herrick contributed to this report.

Quick Links

Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

dwight_injury.jpg
NBCSW

Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

Dwight Howard may play in the Wizards' regular-season opener on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, but the team will not know until the day of the game and likely won't announce the decision either way until head coach Scott Brooks addresses the media about two hours before tipoff.

Howard only has three practices under his belt but has made significant progress throughout this week after missing all five of the team's preseason games due to a strain in his piriformis muscle.

Head coach Scott Brooks said Howard has looked good in those three practices but has a lot of missed time to make up for.

"I think he's definitely winded at times, but that's part of it," Brooks said.

Brooks added that Howard is not getting the same lift when jumping that he's used to. Howard, 32, is used to playing above the rim and his vertical leap is an important part of his game.

The Wizards play their first two games at home, the second on Saturday against the Raptors. They then embark on a Western Conference road trip beginning with the Blazers on Monday.

Brooks said Howard will "definitely" make that trip with the team, which gives a good indication of how close he is to returning to game action. When Howard is ready to play will be left up to the team's medical staff.

If Howard does miss time, the Wizards are expected to rely on his backup Ian Mahinmi as the starting center. Jason Smith would then become the No. 2 center on the depth chart, though they could use forwards like Markieff Morris or Jeff Green at the five-spot.

Howard signed a two-year free-agent deal worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Capitals vs. Rangers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals vs. Rangers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Capitals (2-2-1) were dealt a herky-jerky schedule for the first month of the NHL season, already having logged two back-to-backs and two extended breaks.  But Washington finally gets a semblance of normalcy when they host the New York Rangers (2-4) on Wednesday night in the first of two home games before heading out west to end the month.

The Caps enter the Wednesday Night Hockey tilt with their longtime regional foes having dropped a thrilling weekend showdown against the Toronto Maple Leafs and their high-powered attack. The Rangers have long been a thorn in the side of the Capitals and fans alike. But the team that will hit the ice at Capital One Arena on Oct. 17 will be one that Capitals need to dispatch of with ease.

The team's first foray into defending a championship has been a wild ride with ceremonies, openers, rematches and a lot of time off. After dropping the first three games of the season, New York has won two of its last three,  with both games needing extra time.

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Rangers which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

CAPITALS vs. RANGERs HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers, Game 6 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals vs. Rangers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: Watch Capitals vs. Rangers on  the NBC Sports Washington live stream page and  the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Capitals vs. Rangers on NBC Sports Network
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Braden Holtby, G. Capitals: Holtby has started four of the Capitals' first five games. He's allowed just two goals in the Capitals' two wins, but has given up 11 in the two losses. That being said, the Rangers do not have the caliber of fire-power possessed by the Penguins and Maple Leafs. Expect a big game from "The HoltBeast."

Mats Zuccarello, Rangers: The Rangers savvy veteran leads the team in assists (5) and points (50 through the first six games. While he's not the most dangerous threat on offense, he's the table setter and crafty elder statesman. 

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 273

All-Time Series Record: Capitals lead series 131–117–18–7

Regular Season Record: Capitals lead series 103–90–18–7

Playoff Record: Capitals lead series 28-27

Last Meeting: Capitals beat Rangers 3-2 OT (3/28/2018)

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: