Varejao suffered the injury Monday against the Orlando Magic and played through it Wednesday against the Washington Wizards before soreness kept him out of Friday's practice. The 11-year veteran participated in shootaround Saturday morning before deciding to sit out the game after consulting with the Cavs' medical and coaching staff.
"It was a team decision together with Andy," Cavs coach David Blatt said before the game. "He experienced some discomfort this morning. Nothing too, too serious, but we, as a precautionary measure, just decided to hold him out."
Varejao had started all 14 games for Cleveland this season, averaging 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game while shooting a career-best 61.1 percent from the field, which ranks third in the league.
It's been a resurgent season for Varejao thus far, after the big man missed 115 out of a possible 230 games the last three seasons.
"He's playing with other playmakers out there and he's just finding the right spots," Kyrie Irving said. "He's setting great screens for us and always seems to be in the right place at the right time on both ends of the floor. He's consistently doing that and now that we have other veterans on the team, I feel like he fit before, but now he fits even better."
Tristan Thompson started in Varejao's place.
Indiana's Roy Hibbert remained out with a sprained left ankle.