INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Fresh off a 31-point performance in the NBA's Rising Stars Challenge over All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, expectations may have risen for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters heading into the second half of the regular season, but that plan hit a snag in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
With less than a minute left in the second quarter, Waiters had beaten his man off the dribble and drove from the left wing to the hoop, where he threw down a dunk over his new teammate, Spencer Hawes, whom the Cavaliers acquired in a trade on Thursday.
Following the dunk, Waiters landed awkwardly on his left knee and hobbled down to the other end of the floor before play was halted. Waiters was helped to the locker room following the injury, and later, underwent an MRI.
"I think it's safe to say that he's day-to-day," Cavaliers acting general manager David Griffin said Thursday. "I wouldn't want to put a target date on it, but he's day-to-day. We got the absolute best news we could've on the MRI.
"It was as clean as we could've hoped, so now, it's just a matter of handling the swelling, getting the range of motion back in it. That's just an individual process."
Griffin said that Waiters did not have a cortisone shot since suffering the knee injury, but did say that power forward Anderson Varejao had an injection designed to help in the recovery of his back injury.
Griffin added that acquiring Hawes in a trade with the 76ers is a way for the Cavaliers to give Varejao additional breaks during games when he returns from the back injury.
"What it really has more to do with is our belief that it would be great to not have to rely on him for 43 minutes a night when we're going to try to win a game," Griffin said of Varejao. "Anderson gives you everything he has every second he's on the floor, and you're not going to dial that back. That's what you love about him.
"But we also need to be really pragmatic about the fact that we need to put a group of bigs out there that can sustain when Anderson sits down. We would like to, as he's continued to age, give him fewer minutes and pair him with things that make his life easier too. That's what a big part of this is about."
Following the trade of Hawes for two second-round draft picks, as well as forward Earl Clark and center Henry Sims, the Cavaliers have an open roster spot. However, according to Griffin, "there's no urgency" for the team to fill that slot.
"We'd like to see what the group needs," Griffin said. "With C.J. (Miles') ankle situation, we've got a little bit of a need at that position, and frankly, we're not going to sign anyone at this stage that's going to be a better option than Sergey (Karasev), so maybe he gets some time. We'll see what that looks like."