Dante Exum’s wicked run of injuries in the NBA has continued with the Cleveland guard again sidelined by a reported calf strain.
The Boomers guard suffered a non-contact leg injury in the opening minute against Orlando on Tuesday (AEST), clutching at his lower right leg as he fell to the ground.
He hobbled off in obvious pain as fears of an Achilles tear grew, although the club said initial diagnosis was a right calf strain.
The 25-year-old had found his feet at the Cavaliers after a trade late last season from the Utah Jazz that came on the back of serious knee, ankle and shoulder injuries since his NBA debut in 2014.
The former No.5 draft pick had locked down All-Star Trae Young in the Cavaliers’ last-start defeat of Atlanta to move last year’s wooden spooners to 4-2, earning another start as a small forward on Tuesday.
He missed last year’s World Cup campaign in China because of injury but was shaping as a key piece of new coach Brian Goorjian’s Boomers squad for the Olympics later this year.
He now faces a nervous wait on scan results, with an Achilles tear almost certainly ruling Exum out of the season and rescheduled Tokyo Games that follow the NBA Finals in July and August.
The Cavaliers were no match for the Magic, Thon Maker scoring three points and adding five rebounds, one assist and a steal in the 103-83 loss while fellow Boomers talent Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) is yet to play this season.
Elsewhere Ben Simmons collected 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 118-101 defeat of the Charlotte Hornets that saw Philadelphia improve to an NBA-best 6-1 start under new coach Doc Rivers.
And Aron Baynes was kept scoreless against former team Boston Celtics as the Toronto Raptors – considered contenders to begin this season – dropped to 1-5 with a 126-114 loss.