INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are encouraged by forward Jeff Green's progress with his sore lower back, but he will be held out of their game against the Detroit Pistons on Monday night to complete his planned rest period.
Green was ruled out of Saturday's loss to the Denver Nuggets and the Pistons game on Saturday afternoon after undergoing an MRI on his sore lower back that showed no structural damage.
He was seen roller skating in an Instagram video shared by LeBron James on Sunday. A source with knowledge of the team staff's thinking told ESPN the team understands that Green roller skating on video during the rest period is not the best look but said the team is more focused on the news that he is feeling much better after missing two of the past three games because of his back.
Green participated in on-court drills and other exercises at shootaround Monday, all of which could be considered more taxing than skating around an indoor rink with teammates JR Smith and James on an off day for the Cavs.
The source familiar with the team staff's thinking told ESPN that the two -- roller skating and playing basketball -- just don't equate, with one being much more intense.
In four games played since the All-Star break, Green is averaging 7.5 points on 40.7 percent shooting (20 percent from 3) and 2.5 rebounds. Before the break, he was averaging 10.7 points on 48.9 percent shooting (32 percent from 3) and 3.4 rebounds.
The Cavs will be thin in the middle Monday when they face the Andre Drummond- and Blake Griffin-led Pistons. Other than missing Green, Cleveland is also without starting center Tristan Thompson because of a sprained right ankle and starting power forward Kevin Love because of a broken left hand.
Cleveland recalled rookie center Ante Zizic from the Canton Charge, their G League affiliate, last week, and he could see playing time against Detroit.
"We're already not the biggest team in the league, so we lose another one of our bigs, so without our starting frontcourt, 4 and 5, it's going to be even more challenging for us to rebound," James said at shootaround. "Myself and Larry (Nance Jr.) and I can imagine Big Z (Zizic) is going to get some ... a little bit of playing time, as well, so it's going to be a collective, a real collective group of rebounding, and what better way to test yourself with big Drummond and Blake coming to town."
A source with knowledge of the team staff's thinking told ESPN they did not consider accelerating 31-year-old Green's recovery timeline in light of his improvement and Thompson's injury against Denver because they are focusing on the bigger picture when it comes to Green's health and not potential gains for one regular-season game.