Cavaliers’ center Tristan Thompson left Wednesday night’s loss against the Pacers with what was initially diagnosed as a left calf strain and did not return to the game.
On Thursday, Thompson had an MRI done to determine the severity of the injury, and the results were apparently not good. According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Thompson will be out for a month with the left calf injury, as the Cavaliers continue to struggle with injuries.
Thompson will join Iman Shumpert and Isaiah Thomas on the end of the Cavs’ bench in suits. Shumpert is dealing with knee soreness and will be evaluated again in a week, while Thomas continues to rehab his way back from hip surgery.
Losing Thompson is another blow to the reeling Cavs, as they have stumbled out of the gate to a 3-5 record, including four straight losses. The biggest issue for Cleveland continues to be on the defensive end, where they’re among the league’s worst in defensive rating. It seems likely things will only get worse before they can get better as the Cavs have now lost their best perimeter defender in Shumpert for a week or more and their best interior defender and rim protector in Thompson for a month.
Thompson had re-entered the Cleveland starting lineup after the Cavs initially began the season with Kevin Love starting at center, so one would figure Love to return to that role in Thompson’s absence. Cleveland’s frontcourt rotation is now very thin, with Channing Frye likely to get more minutes and LeBron James and Jae Crowder carrying the load at power forward as the Cavs are forced to play small ball.