Injury issues continue to plague the Cavaliers, who will be without another key rotation player for the foreseeable future. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com (via Twitter), All-Star big man Kevin Love will undergo a scope on his left knee, and is expected to be sidelined for the next six weeks. The Cavaliers confirmed the news this morning in a press release, announcing that Love underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body from his knee.
The Cavaliers had already been missing J.R. Smith, whose broken thumb is expected to keep him out of action until sometime in March, and Iman Shumpert, who has been out for the last week due to a sprained ankle. The team also lost Chris Andersen for the season due to a torn ACL, though the Birdman is no longer on the roster, having been sent to the Hornets in a trade on Monday.
With Love out of action, Tristan Thompson could see an uptick in his playing time, and newly-acquired Derrick Williams figures to get more minutes than expected. Still, the Cavs may have to consider adding a big man using the open spot on their roster. Channing Frye is currently the only other healthy big man on the roster, so the team will have to rely heavily on small lineups in the short term.
While Love – along with Smith and Shumpert – should be back well before the playoffs begin, the Cavaliers’ hold on the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference looks increasingly tenuous. The Celtics and Wizards have been red hot in recent weeks, and are gaining ground on Cleveland, while the Raptors just fortified their roster by reaching a deal to acquire Serge Ibaka.