Cleveland's Injury-Hit Season Tempering Bright Future for Kyrie Irving's Cavs

Matt Parker@@parkem24Contributor IIIMarch 20, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 05:  Kyrie Irving (L)#2 and Dion Waiters #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate Irving's three point shot in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on November 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Cavaliers defeated the Clippers 108-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers are dropping like flies.

And not just ball games, but their best players, including Anderson Varejao, Kyrie Irving and, this week, Dion Waiters.

Yes, when the Cavs play host to the red-hot Miami Heat on Wednesday March 20, they will be without their top three scorers.

After going a respectable 7-5 in February, including a rousing come-from-behind win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Cavs have taken a tumble, losing seven of nine games in March.

Adding injury to insult, they lost all-star point guard Kyrie Irving to a left shoulder contusion on March 10 at Toronto.

Rookie guard Dion Waiters is the latest to go down, leaving Monday's game against the Pacers with knee soreness.


Waiters, who left Monday's loss to Indiana with a sore left knee, had an MRI performed on the ailment Tuesday, revealing a small piece of loose cartilage. Consequently, he will be sidelined at least one week in order to rest and receive treatment on the ailment.

The article went on to say arthroscopic surgery could be next. Essentially, Cleveland's starting backcourt of Waiters and Irving is done for the season.

Which brings us to Cleveland's frontcourt.

Anderson Varejao, initially expected to return after tearing a muscle in his right knee in December, will not play again this season after a blood clot was discovered in his lung.

Varejao was playing at an all-star level before he went down, averaging 14.1 points and a league-best 14.4 rebounds per game. In fact, he would have received a $1 million bonus in his contract had he been named an All-Star this year. 

Meanwhile, Ohio's former favorite son LeBron James is returning with his squad fully in tow and playing at an all-time level, winners of 23 straight games, the second-longest streak in NBA history.

Unfortunately, fans won't get to see him go against Cleveland's new would-be savior, the cat-quick Kyrie Irving.

Initial reports had Cleveland's leader in scoring, assists and steals per game missing 3-4 weeks, but at this point, is there really any reason to bring him back?

Irving, while absolutely sensational just 100 games into his pro career, has proven either fragile or incredibly unlucky in his brief stint in the league.

He's already missed time this season with a broken finger and a hyper-extended knee. To his credit, he did play through a broken jaw sustained back in December.

The 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year played in just 11 games at Duke in his lone season as a Blue Devil and has missed 33 of a possible 133 games—and counting—for the Cavaliers.

The good news for Cavaliers fans: He turns just 21 years old on Saturday.

And although Cleveland's future won't get to match up against its past, things are looking up for the Cavaliers—if they can only stay on the court. 

Just a few words of advice, Kyrie: Try not to slap anything this summer on the "Uncle Drew" Buckets Tour.