Cavaliers Rookie Windler Plays Some 3-on-3, Closing in on Debut
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Rookie wing Dylan Windler spent part of Tuesday partaking in a fairly intense game of 3-on-3 and his coach struggled to look away.
“Excuse me if I’m watching him at the same time,” Cavaliers coach John Beilein said while addressing reporters, and watching Windler. "I’m excited about getting him back."
Pretty soon, the Cavs expect to have an idea of what Windler looks like during real live NBA action. He has missed the first 17 games with what has been described as a "stress reaction" in his left leg.
A league source told SI.com on Nov. 13 that the hope is Windler will be back by "early or the middle of December." Early December is next week. Either way, the time seems near.
"Dylan’s getting closer," Beilein said. "When you have an injury like his, any further injury would shut him down. But he’s had no soreness the last couple of days, so that’s a good sign,"
Windler is 6-foot-6 and was drafted with the No. 26 overall pick. Along with Darius Garland (No. 5) and swingman Kevin Porter Jr. (No. 30), Windler was one of three first-round picks.
He is the only one who played in the Las Vegas Summer League, and is the only one who has yet to play during the regular season.
"The soreness wasn’t in the bone. It was in the muscles around it," Beilein said. "When it’s that dormant for that long, and then all of a sudden you’re playing basketball ... there was some residual effect.”
Windler plays the same position as small forward Cedi Osman, shooting guard Jordan Clarkson and Porter. So Beilein will have some decisions to make once Windler is given full clearance.
"It’s going to be interesting to see what we do,” Beilein said. “Anybody want to take Jordan Clarkson out of the lineup? I don’t."
The coach added the Cavs will "continue to preach the culture of the team first. But maybe we can give guys off days and put ourselves in position to get more minutes for people.”
Beilein said he is hopeful big man John Henson will be available for the second time this season when the Cavs host Orlando on Wednesday (7 p.m., FOX Sports Ohio).
Henson was acquired from Milwaukee nearly a year ago. Wrist surgery kept him from suiting up for the Cavs last season.
This time, it's a hamstring injury. He has made just one appearance, Oct. 26 vs. Indiana, the second game of the season. Henson played eight minutes and scored three points.
The Cavs (5-12) could definitely use his size, athleticism and rim-protection off the bench.
"I'm excited about getting him back," Beilein said.
Kevin Love received treatment for his achy lower back while the rest of the team practiced Tuesday.
He has missed the previous two games (and three overall) with a lower back contusion. As Beilein pointed, back pain is tricky and there's no telling how it will feel from minute to minute.
Love nearly played in Monday's loss to Brooklyn and is likely to be a game-time call for Orlando. Both Love and Henson are officially listed as questionable.