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In Street Clothes

Covering sports injuries from the perspective of a certified athletic trainer and backed by analytics.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Summary

The Cavaliers have been a perennial contender since LeBron James returned to Cleveland. While injuries influenced their 2015 postseason run, the team had previously remained relatively healthy during the regular season. Unfortunately, that changed last year as the Cavs endured multiple significant injuries.

Swingman JR Smith missed 36 games with a broken thumb and Kevin Love sat for 13 games following knee surgery. However, it was the center position that was hit particularly hard by injuries. Veteran Chris Andersen tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in December and missed 29 games before being released. Veteran Andrew Bogut was brought into help fill that position but fractured his tibia during his first game in a Cavaliers uniform. Edy Tavares was then added to the roster and fractured his hand, limiting his postseason availability.

Head athletic trainer Steve Spiro and his medical team will once again be tasked with maintaining the health of a roster filled with veterans. James remains one the most durable superstars ever but new additions Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, and Isaiah Thomas present a new challenge. Both Wade and Rose have a long history of knee issues and will require regular daily treatment to remain on the court and out of the training room. Rose’s health is particularly important with Thomas expected to miss the first few months of the regular season with his lingering hip problem. The former Celtics guard suffered a torn hip labrum last season and has since been diagnosed with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).

The Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the Eastern Conference but could once again lose top seeding if injuries remain an issue.