Iman Shumpert to miss at least 3 months for right wrist injury

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert will undergo right wrist surgery this week that is expected to sideline him for more than three months, the team announced Tuesday.

Shumpert suffered a ruptured extensor carpi ulnaris sheath "several days" before the start of training camp, which opened up Tuesday, according to the team. He received an MRI on Monday after being examined by Dr. Thomas Graham and Dr. Richard Parker at the Cleveland Clinic, which confirmed the injury.

Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said Shumpert informed the team at Monday's media day about "latent soreness" he was experiencing in his wrist.

"He worked incredibly hard this offseason and put in a lot, a lot of work," said Griffin. "And in training last week, he had an issue where he hit the rim with his right wrist. I believe he was trying to catch a lob [pass]."

Griffin said that the injury caused the tendon on the inside of his right wrist to become loose and waiting on the injury to heal naturally without any surgery was not an option. The Cavs are listing Shumpert's timetable for recovery at 12-14 weeks.

Shumpert had the wrist examined by the trainer at the high school where he was practicing last week and considered the injury minor enough to keep playing with at the time. Griffin said the fact that Shumpert waited to get further evaluation on the wrist in Cleveland did not make things worse.

"He's a really tough guy, so he probably didn't realize it was severe at the time," Griffin said.

Shumpert, entering his fifth season, re-signed with the Cavaliers on a four-year, $40 million contract in July. He averaged 7.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 38 games with the Cavs last season after being acquired from the New York Knicks in January. He upped his game in the playoffs, averaging 9.1 points and 4.9 rebounds while overtaking J.R. Smith's spot in the starting lineup from the second round until the end of the Finals.

While the Cavs had a successful offseason after their Finals loss to Golden State, inking Shumpert, LeBron James, Kevin Love and others to new deals while bringing in newcomers such as Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson, there is still the question of health hanging over training camp like a cloud.

Apart from Shumpert's wrist, Kyrie Irving is still recovering from a fractured left kneecap that kept him out of the first practice of the season Tuesday. However, Love (shoulder), Timofey Mozgov (knees) and Anderson Varejao (Achilles) were all able to participate Tuesday, which was a non-contact session.

"Injuries will probably be the only thing that can stop us long term," said James. "This thing [with Shumpert] is a short-term thing, so he'll be there when we most need him."

If Shumpert does not return to the lineup until late December, he will miss a minimum of 25 games.

Fortunately for the Cavs, they have viable options to fill in for the ailing Shumpert and Irving in the starting lineup as long as the backcourt duo is sidelined.

"We have depth," said James. "And if it's one position we have it, it's at the guard spot. Bringing back Delly [Matthew Dellavedova], re-signing J.R., bringing in Richard, bringing in Mo, we have depth at the guard spot, so with this injury, guys should be able to step in."

With the same sentiment in mind, Griffin said he did not plan to sign a free agent to make up for the loss of Shumpert in the interim.

"I think we look at this as a very similar situation to what we went through in the playoffs last year: Next man up," Griffin said. "We have a roster we feel is deep enough to withstand one injury like this, and so we're going to give people a chance to kind of absorb it from within, but obviously we've been paying attention to a lot of opportunities that we may be able to [use] to improve the group. We'll just play it by ear."