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Anderson Varejao was leading the NBA in rebounding before his injury.
Anderson Varejao may have been on track to make his first All-Star team this year before he hurt his quadriceps in December. Even with him the Cleveland Cavaliers would not have made the playoffs this season, but his injury was still a huge loss for the team.
In the 25 games he did play, Varejao averaged a career high 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds per game. Not only did he lead the league in rebounds per game, but he led the NBA in offensive rebound rate. His game is based on hustle and energy, and he was providing a ton of it for the Cavaliers in the early part of the season.
What made his injury so unfortunate was that it came just one week after Kyrie Irving returned from an injury of his own. The two played just 14 games together this season, so it is hard to say how the team would have fared at full strength.
The Cavaliers are still in rebuilding mode, and a healthy Varejao would have been a great trade chip at the deadline. He was playing at such a high level that there certainly would have been multiple suitors for his services.
Instead, the Cavaliers played without their second-best player and their best interior player, and they don't really know how well he fits with Irving going forward.