If a 2-8 start to the year and a six-game losing streak wasn’t bad enough, the Cleveland Cavaliers will now have to go through the next month of the season without their starting point guard.
Kyrie Irving will miss the next four to six weeks of action after hurting his finger during Saturday nights 103-95 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. He suffered the injury during the third quarter, but still managed to finish the game with 26 points.
The diagnosis is a hairline/non-displaced fracture of his left index finger.
Through 10 games, Irving was averaging 22.9 points (sixth in the NBA) and 5.6 assists.
The Cavaliers next game is Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
What does Irving’s injury mean for Cleveland?
This could not have come at a worse possible time.
Cleveland currently sits fourth in the Central division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. They’re not exactly taking the league by storm at the moment.
Not only is Irving their floor general at the point, but he’s also their best player and team leader. Losing him for the next 30 + days will be hard to overcome.
The Cavs will play 15 games over the next 30 days. 10 of those will come against teams who currently have records of .500 or better.
It looks like rookie guard Dion Waiters is going to have a baptism by fire, so to speak. He immediately becomes Cleveland’s number one option on offense.
So far, Waiters is putting up 13.7 points and 2.2 rebounds a game. However, he’s only shooting 38.8% from the field. This is a perfect opportunity for the rookie to halt any doubts skeptics had of him being taken fourth overall in this past summers draft.
Anderson Varejao (14.3 points, 13.3 rebounds) will also need to continue his hot start to the season. Anderson is not the type of player that creates his own offense in the paint. He was usually a recipient of Kyrie Irving’s playmaking, as well as his own buckets off of the offensive glass (4.9 offensive rebounds a game, 3rd in the NBA).
It’s not impossible, but for the Cavaliers to be even remotely competitive in the East, “Uncle Drew” is going to have to heal up fast.
The truth of the matter is Cleveland isn’t a great basketball team, even with Irving.
Just imagine how bad things can get over these next 30 or so days without him.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports