The Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to have Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert return from injuries soon, as both players have been rehabbing and could come back in the next month or so. LeBron James criticized the team effort of the Cavs following an overtime loss to the Bucks, which dropped the team to 8-2 on the season.
The Cavaliers have been off to a strong start despite the injuries to Irving and Shumpert and now the players could be returning to the lineup soon. According to Chris Haynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Shumpert is "aggressively attacking" his rehab from wrist surgery and there is a chance that the guard could return in mid-December. Shumpert had the cast removed from his wrist a month ago and his original recovery time was listed as 12-to-14 weeks, which would make a December return possible if he returns after 12 weeks.
Shumpert injured his wrist before the season started and if he recovers for the full 14 weeks, a January return would be the target. Shumpert said that he is aiming for the early side of things for his return, but that he will listen to the Cavs medical staff and do what is best for the team. Irving has been out of action this season as he comes back from knee surgery and he could return ahead of Shumpert for the Cavaliers. Irving had knee surgery after getting injured in the NBA finals and according to ESPN Cleveland, Brian Windhorst reports that Irving could be back in a few weeks.
Irving has been cleared to do contact work and he has also been able to scrimmage 3-on-3 with his teammates after rehabbing. Irving said that he had a return date in mind, but he did not share that with the media when asked about it in early November. The Cavaliers have been getting by with Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova at point guard, but Irving would be a major upgrade once he returns. Chris Haynes reports that Irving has been cleared for "unrestricted weight-bearing activities" and that is another big step in his recovery.
LeBron James had some constructive criticism for his team after losing to the Bucks in overtime, saying to Dave McMenamin of ESPN that the team sometimes "gives a half-ass effort." James added that they "expect that we can just make a run at the end. We're not good enough to do that right now." James is the leader of the team and with Irving still recovering from his injury, the Cavs have not been at full strength in their starting lineup all season.
Kevin Love has been playing a major role for the Cavs on offense this season and James said that the team needs to do more to put in a full effort "throughout the 48 minutes." The Cavs are still ranked in the top 10 in scoring offense and defense through 10 games, but clearly James wants to see more from his team. James scored 37 points against the Bucks in the overtime loss and the Cavs next play against the Pistons on Tuesday night.