NBA Injuries

Tristan Thompson Out: More Changes to Cavs’ Lineup

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting lineup will shift yet again. On Wednesday, November 1st, Tristan Thompson was pulled from second-quarter action against the Indiana Pacers due to a left calf strain. Cleveland has dropped five of their last six games, and will lose the services of Thompson for at least a month. Many experts pinpoint the infamous “Kardashian Curse” as the cause of Thompson’s injury. The power forward’s ailment will allow him to spend more quality time with his pregnant girlfriend Khloe Kardashian.

In the absence of Kyrie Irving, Tyronn Lue has been tasked to get creative with his lineups. He surprised many by switching out Thompson for Kevin Love at center. The smaller lineup did not last for long. J.R. Smith and Thompson regained their starting roles, trading their spots on the bench with Dwayne Wade and Jae Crowder. As a versatile defender and elite rebounder, Lue likely figured that Thompson could supply much needed defense for the Cavs. In his new starting role, Thompson’s minutes did not increase notably. Crowder continued to average more playing time. However, the loss of Thompson’s size will hinder the middling Cavs as they struggle to bounce back from a disappointing start to their season.

Calf strains tend to linger, and do not heal properly without significant rest. Fantasy owners should not expect a particularly speedy recovery. Regardless of his health, Thompson’s usage has been inconsistent this season as a result of the new-look roster and the lineup tinkering of Tyronn Lue. Crowder’s fantasy production dipped when he began coming off the bench, so it may be reasonable to anticipate a slight increase in production from #99. Still, while the Cavs endure their growing pains, Crowder does not stand as a viable fantasy option, even in deeper leagues.

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