Thompson sprained his right thumb Tuesday and missed a first-place showdown at Boston, ending his consecutive games played streak at 447 — a team record and the longest active stretch in the league. Thompson's streak dated to Feb. 10, 2012, his rookie season.
A relentless rebounder, Thompson got hurt during the third quarter of Tuesday's win over Orlando, and Thompson didn't travel with the team. An MRI exam confirmed the sprain and Thompson will miss the matchup with the Celtics as well as Friday's home game against Atlanta.
“He got it bent back going for a rebound,” Lue said.
The Cavaliers said Thompson's status will be “updated as appropriate,” leaving the possibility he could miss more time as the regular season enters its final week. Thompson is averaging 8.1 points and 9.3 rebounds.
His injury is another tough blow for the defending champions, who have been forced to shuffle their lineups all season because of key injuries.
J.R. Smith missed nearly three months following thumb surgery; Kevin Love underwent a knee operation; Kyle Korver just returned after missing 11 games with a sore foot; and center Andrew Bogut broke his leg in the first minute of his debut with Cleveland, an injury that will be felt even more with Thompson out.
“It's unfortunate. But we've been in this position all year long,” Lue said. “Guys gotta step up and be ready to play and we know that. And guys understand that. So we just gotta come together until we get Tristan back.”
Thompson continued to play after getting his thumb taped and finished with just two points and three rebounds against the Magic.
Cleveland recalled center Larry Sanders from its D-League affiliate in Canton. Sanders was out of the league for two years before the Cavaliers signed him on March 13, an addition they hope can fill their need for a rim protector.
“We're gonna get him out there and just kind of see what he can do,” Lue said of Sanders. “We're confident that he can do some good things. We know he was defensive player of the year (at Virginia Commonwealth University), but he's been out for a couple of years. So we're gonna take a look at him and see what he can do.”
Atlanta small forward Thabo Sefolosha is not yet ready to return from his right groin strain. The Hawks say Sefolosha will miss his sixth straight game when Atlanta hosts Boston on Thursday night. The Hawks, who have lost nine of 11 to fall to sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, have had two other starters, Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore, make recent returns from injuries. Millsap (left knee synovitis) and Bazemore (right knee bone bruise) are listed as probable. …