Injury Bug Has Cavs For Lunch

Posted: November 29, 1989

With the possible exception of a trip to Lourdes, there's nothing the Cleveland Cavaliers need right now.

Counted among the NBA's elite a season ago, the Cavs have been brought down by a series of injuries that have reduced the team to a foundering unit that has failed to score more than 82 points a game in its last two games. The Cavaliers creep quietly into the Spectrum tonight (Prism, 7:30 p.m.) to play the 76ers.

Along with the recent rash of injuries, the Cavaliers have been given at least a temporary setback by the loss of shooting guard Ron Harper. The Cavs' leading scorer was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Reggie Williams and the rights to Danny Ferry. The Clippers also received three draft picks, including two first-rounders.

Without Harper, the Cleveland offense is somewhat punchless. The Cavs are one of only five teams in the league (Charlotte, Miami, Denver and New Jersey are the others) without a 20-point scorer on the roster.

But it has been the injuries that have been impossible to believe. Last year, the Cavaliers lost the fewest man-games to injury in the league (19). In just 11 games this year, before last night's meeting with the Bullets, the Cavs had logged 41 man-games lost because of injury.

At times, the Cleveland clubhouse has been more infirmary than locker room. Cavs coach Lenny Wilkens canceled practice Sunday because he didn't have enough players to practice.

Here is a casualty report:

* Brad Daugherty - The starting center went on the injured list Aug. 31 after undergoing an operation to relieve swelling between the third and fourth toe of his right foot. He's rehabilitating and could be back by the end of

December.

* Larry Nance - The power forward who blocked 206 shots a year ago had surgery in June to repair frayed tendons on his left ankle. He could be playing basketball again as early as next week.

* Wayne "Tree" Rollins - An aging but game 34-year-old, Rollins had been starting at center this season until he suffered a sprained knee last Friday in a loss to Detroit. He didn't accompany the team to Philadelphia and will miss both games on the Cavs' two-game road trip.

* Mark Price - The dependable point guard missed the first four games of the season with a sprained right foot. He reinjured the foot Saturday in a loss to Houston, and will also miss the road trip.

* Paul Mokeski - He replaced Rollins at center and suffered a hyperextended elbow two minutes after Price hurt himself again. Mokeski wasn't able to start last night, but is considered possible for tonight.

* Chris Dudley - The 6-foot-11 Yalie became Daugherty's third replacement when Mokeski went down. He played despite wearing a soft cast, which is protecting a broken bone above his left wrist.

Last night, in a 92-91 win over the Bullets, the Cavaliers opened with John ''Hot Rod" Williams, Dudley and Randolph Keys in the frontcourt, with Reggie Williams and John Morton in the backcourt. Observant fans will notice that none of the five starters who helped the team to 57 wins last year were in that lineup.

The Sixers, however, claim to be taking nothing for granted tonight.

"The veteran players know that," Sixers coach Jim Lynam said. "They don't need me to tell them that. Is Cleveland beat up? Certainly they're beat up. I'm not going to pretend they're not. But that's a page out of the same book of our schedule being 'easy' because we're playing some expansion teams. Well, guess what? We already lost two of those games."

*

The Cavs lost their first four games of the year, won five straight and lost two before last night's win. . . . Sixers center Mike Gminski will return to the starting lineup tonight after missing one game because of the flu. . . . Sixers owner Harold Katz attended practice yesterday. He declined comment on the state of negotiations concerning a new arena site for the Flyers and Sixers. . . . The Sixers were 2-3 against the Cavs last year, losing three in Richfield, Ohio, but winning both meetings in the Spectrum. . . . Lynam said new guard Dexter Shouse could see some action tonight. Shouse, who replaced Lanard Copeland on the active roster Monday, will wear No. 3. . . . After tonight, the Sixers play three straight on the road: Washington (in Baltimore) on Friday, Atlanta on Saturday and New York on Tuesday.

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