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Branson Wright from the Akron Beacon Journal fills us in on Hughes.
Larry Hughes was the biggest free-agent catch for the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer when he signed a five-year deal worth about $65 million. There were a number of free agents available, but Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry and coach Mike Brown said their focus was on acquiring the best complement to LeBron James, and that was Hughes.
Hughes was also the defensive stopper the team craved. Last season, Hughes, a former star at St. Louis University and CBC, was all-defensive first team and he led the league in steals with 2.89 swipes per game. But he has been haunted by injuries throughout his career. He had two surgeries on his right middle finger this season and he’s not expected to return until the end of next month. The Cavs are 15-16 without Hughes.
Last year, he suffered a broken right thumb. He also has suffered an injury to his left wrist, a sprained right ankle and a strained right shoulder over his eight-year career. Hughes has not played a complete season since 1999-2000.
On Thursday in Chicago prior to the Cavaliers one-point victory over the Chicago Bulls, Hughes took time to answer five questions for the Post-Dispatch:
You’ve missed significant games over your career due to injuries. How have you dealt with not playing?
“It’s tough, but I find the positives out of everything that happens. Last year, I came back from the injury and I was fresh for our stretch run into the playoffs. I’m thankful that’s not my ankle or my knees or anything like that where it can be chronic. I just deal with it basically.”
When do you plan on coming back?
“I plan on getting back before the playoffs start. That’s my goal. After these next two weeks, I’ll have a better understanding of where I am. If everything goes the way we plan, I can get back working.”
What’s the worst thing about the injury?
“The worst thing is that I’m one-handed. I haven’t done anything with my right hand for three months. I’ve been doing everything lefthanded. I mean everything, from eating to putting on my clothes. The hardest thing is washing myself with one hand. It’s so hard trying to wash under my left arm with my left hand. … I don’t have a problem driving because I don’t like to drive anyway. I own eight cars and I hate driving. Luckily, the arena is only 10 minutes from my house.”
LeBron James is considered one of the bright new faces of the league. He’s one of the most popular players in the NBA. What is it like playing on the same team with James?
“He’s a good guy. I’d understand if he’s not as responsive to everybody all of the time because people want to get close to him and talk with him. But he does his share of letting people get to know him. . . . We all have to remember that he’s still a kid. He’s still a young guy joking around and trying to learn how to win in this league. He’s coming along.”
Can St. Louis support an NBA team and would you back the city in any effort in bringing a team in?
“Yes, definitely. Whenever a team considered moving, St. Louis has been in the running, and their name has come up for expansion. I would support the effort because I plan to live in St. Louis when I retire. After basketball, I plan to be involved in basketball in some way. An NBA franchise in St. Louis would be good for the city. We support the Rams, and we’ve always supported the Cardinals. I wouldn’t mind being involved with bringing a team to the city. Downtown is really nice and continuing to improve. Bringing in an NBA franchise would also encourage other business to come into the city.”