Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Zeller’s injury takes a bit off the Waiters, Irving dynamic

Bad news for the Cleveland Cavaliers and rookie center Tyler Zeller, who will be out for a while after suffering a concussion and fractured cheekbone during Monday night’s win versus the L.A. Clippers.

Zeller was hit with a wayward elbow from the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan with 5:39 left in the game. X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture of his left orbital cheekbone and Zeller returned to Cleveland to be evaluated further, according to a team press release. He will have to get clearance from a league doctor before he can start playing again as the Cavs are following the NBA’s concussion protocol process.

“The timing sucks,” Cavs coach Byron Scott told The Beacon Journal. “If there’s any silver lining to the whole thing, it’s early. Hopefully we’ll have him back before this road trip is over. “The young fella has been playing really well, especially the last game, he was playing great. So there’s a little bit of a monkey wrench in what we want to do tonight but it gives another guy another opportunity to step up and step in there and see if we can keep going.”

The injury to Zeller, who was having the best night of his (very early) NBA career with 15 points and seven rebounds, took a little bit of the shine off the Cavs’ win, which offered a look at why the Cavs used the No. 4 pick in June’s draft to select Dion Waiters to pair with Kyrie Irving in the backcourt.

Waiters hit seven 3-pointers on his way to scoring 28 points and Irving chipped in with 24 points and four 3-pointers in the win.

“This is what we were thinking – that we had another guy who could make plays and could score and also find other guys, beat people off the dribble, create for himself, create for teammates,” Scott said after the game. ” It’s exactly what we were thinking about.

“I thought they came of age the last game, and they’re just getting better. They’re still getting used to each other. As much as they want to talk about how they’ve known each other since AAU, they still haven’t played together that much. They’re still getting used to one another. But it’s starting to come along a lot better than I thought.”

If Irving and Waiters can play like that after only a handful of games together, imagine what they may be able to do as the season progresses.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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