|Cavaliers' Pavlovic out with injured ankle|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 09 February 2009 12:53|
Versatile swingman Sasha Pavlovic, filling in as a starting guard recently, could miss six weeks after sustaining a high ankle sprain in the Cavaliers' 101-91 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, who completed a 6-0 road trip by ending Cleveland's home winning streak at 23 consecutive games.
Pavlovic underwent an MRI on Monday. Tests revealed the dreaded high ankle sprain, which typically sidelines players for at least one month and can linger longer.
ained his ankle since April. He did not return to the game and the Lakers were able to exploit matchup problems caused by his absence.
``It's been tough for him and for us,'' Cavs coach Mike Brown said. ``But that's the good thing about this team. We feel like we're deep and it's going to have to continue to show.''
With Pavlovic out, the Cavaliers will be more shorthanded than usual for Tuesday's game at Indiana. They're still without West (broken wrist) and reserve forward Tarence Kinsey (sprained ankle), both of whom returned to practice on Monday but will be kept from contact drills until after the All-Star break.
West had his cast removed last week but he did not use his right hand at all while shooting jumpers during the portion of practice open to the media.
The Cavs only recently got back center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who missed 16 games with a severely sprained ankle.
``It's another big loss,'' Ilgauskas said. ``We can't seem to shake the injuries. But we can't use it as an excuse. Every team goes through something like this throughout the year so everyone is going to have to step up. We're going to have to figure it out.''
Wally Szczerbiak will start at shooting guard alongside Mo Williams against the Pacers. Szczerbiak, who is playing with a mask to protect a broken nose, started two games last week when Pavlovic was out with the flu.
Criticized for his defense, Szczerbiak has become one of the Cavs' most indispensable players. He has played shooting guard and both forward positions, solidifying his role on a team that may consider trading him before the Feb. 21 deadline. Szczerbiak has a $13 million contract the Cavaliers would like to clear from their salary cap, but they would be less inclined to deal him with his playing time rising.
With Pavlovic out on Sunday, Brown was forced to leave LeBron James on Kobe Bryant and couldn't use the 6-foot-8 James to defend Lamar Odom, who scored 15 of his season-high 28 points in the third quarter. Odom was too quick for Ben Wallace or Anderson Varejao, too big (6-10) and strong for the 6-7 Szczerbiak and too experienced for rookie J.J. Hickson, who twice failed to box out on weakside rebounds that Odom turned into easy baskets.
Brown understands that if he plays Hickson he'll have to accept mistakes. But he needs the second-round pick from North Carolina State to perform if he's going to be in the rotation.
However, Brown said Hickson's teammates may be more demanding than him.
``His teammates were upset and when you're put out there in a game against a good team and the score is tight and you don't get your job done, as his peers they're not the ones who are going to say, 'Hey, he's a rookie.' They're going to be mad. They're going to be mad at him and they're going to get mad at me some for having him out there.
``They're going to say, 'Hey, you're a grown man and you get paid good money. You better do it.' It's up to J.J. as a young fella to make the adjustment and try to do it every play no matter who he is guarding.''