Hughes was inactive for Game 3 of the NBA finals against the San
Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night after hobbling throughout the first
two games -- and much of the past few weeks -- with a sore left foot.
Hughes, who has plantar fasciitis and a tear in his foot, was
replaced by rookie Daniel Gibson, who averaged 15.5 points in the
first two games.
It was a mild surprise that Hughes didn't dress. During his
pregame news conference, Cleveland coach Mike Brown guessed that
the 6-foot-5 Hughes would start and likely play limited minutes.
Following morning shootaround, Hughes said the pain in his left
heel had gotten worse in the past few days. When asked if he would
play, Hughes, said, "I'm not sure."
"Sometimes you can overcome the physical," he said. "At this
point, it's getting pretty tough."
Hughes, whose career has been slowed by injuries, has had the
condition in his foot for weeks, but until now had not missed a
game. During the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit, the
28-year-old received injections of cortisone in his foot to relieve
the pain, but he chose not to get the shots before Games 1 or 2.
Hughes went a combined 1-for-10 in 44 minutes in the first two
games, but his inability to move quickly has allowed Spurs guard
Tony Parker to shred Cleveland's defense and average 20.8 points.
Hughes didn't arrive at Quicken Loans Arena until 1½ hours
before tipoff, and he immediately went to the trainer's room. He
sat in street clothes watching TV while a few of his teammates got
taped for the game.
Gibson, a second-round pick from Texas, made 16 starts during
the regular season. Game 3 will be his first postseason start and
the Cavaliers' lineup was different for the first time in the
The Cavs are hoping Gibson, 21, can give them the same lift as
he did in the conference finals when he scored a season-high 31
points and went 5-of-5 on 3-pointers in the series-clinching Game 6
win over the Pistons.
"I'm confident in him," Brown said. "I just tell him, 'Let it
fly. Nobody can guard you. You're one of the best shooters in the NBA,
even at the young age that you are now.'"