CLEVELAND (AP) — A tough stretch for the Cavaliers just got a lot tougher.
Cleveland will be without versatile forward Larry Nance for six weeks after he broke his left hand during Saturday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Nance, who has missed several recent games with a sprained right wrist, broke the fourth metacarpal in his hand during the first quarter of the 124-99 loss as the Cavaliers dropped back-to-back games against one of the NBA’s best teams.
It’s not yet known if Nance will have surgery.
Nance’s loss comes at a challenging juncture for the Cavs. They won only 19 games in 2020 but have been one of the league’s biggest surprises so far this season. However, Cleveland has lost three straight, five of six and will begin a five-game road trip — all against playoff contenders — on Monday in Phoenix.
The 28-year-old Nance is perhaps the team’s best all-around player. He can play down low and on the perimeter and Nance, who is in his fourth season with Cleveland, ranks second in the league with 1.9 steals per game.
Nance is averaging 9.3 points and 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 19 games.
Nance’s loss also weakens a frontcourt already missing five-time Al-Star Kevin Love. He hasn’t played since Dec. 27 due to a severely strained calf he initially injured in the preseason.
Love began doing on-court work earlier this week and said Saturday he’s getting close to playing. Love is not expected to be back on the floor until the Cavaliers return home.
Without Nance, coach J.B. Bickerstaff will be forced to experiment with some new lineups. He does have size in Andre Drummond, Jarrett Allen and Javale McGee, but the Cavs’ biggest problem lately has been scoring — especially from the outside.
Earlier this week, Cleveland was outscored 60-12 on 3-pointers by the Los Angeles Clippers.
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