Lisa DeJong, PD
By Rick Noland
CLEVELAND — Slowly but surely, Leon Powe is making his way back from serious knee surgery.
The Cavaliers power forward has begun full-speed running and cutting and is playing one-on-one with assistant coach Melvin Hunt, putting him on pace to meet his goal of returning to action soon after the Feb. 14 NBA All-Star Game.
“I can do all my moves,” Powe said Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena prior to a game against the Houston Rockets. “I just want my finishing moves to be a little more powerful. It’s getting there. Each week, it’s a little better.”
Powe underwent an MRI in Boston in mid-December and his left knee was found to be structurally sound, but there is no target date for him to return to practice.
“We’re trying to get everything right before I go out there,” the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder said. “Once you go out and practice, there’s pretty much no turning back.”
If Powe can make it back by mid-February and round into top form for the playoffs, he could give the Cavaliers a bruising presence under the basket.
That would allow coach Mike Brown the luxury of choosing between the 25-year-old, J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao at power forward, but those types of decisions are still a ways away.
“I’m moving and running and doing all types of stuff,” Powe said. “I’m trying to get my in-game situations down.
“It’s frustrating, because I’m a competitor. I want to be out there helping my team.”