One NBA big man is headed for an extended absence, while another keeps working toward a return from a string of injuries.
Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao had surgery Thursday to repair a small split in a right leg muscle. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Meanwhile, free agent Greg Oden is eyeing a comeback after his third microfracture surgery, this time on his left knee, in February 2012. He hasn't played since Dec. 5, 2009.
Varejao's operation comes as a result of a knee injury that occurred Dec. 18 during a game against the Toronto Raptors. The procedure was performed by team head physician Richard Parker as well as Dr. Jim Rosneck.
As for Oden, some sources told ESPN.com that Oden won't seek to come back until the 2013-14 season. Other reports said teams have expressed interest in signing him to a multiyear deal before the end of this season to allow him to continue his rehab until he can return for training camp in the fall.
Two sources told ESPN.com that the Miami Heat are one of the teams pursuing Oden, who is taking classes at Ohio State.
Oden played just 82 games total in two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.
--Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers defended Kevin Garnett, saying the forward didn't mention Carmelo Anthony's wife during his Monday trash-talking incident.
"Well, number one, I know what's been reported did not happen," Rivers told Boston sports radio station WEEI during his weekly interview. "I know that as a fact."
Garnett and Anthony received double technical fouls Monday for provoking each other, and their argument continued in the Madison Square Garden tunnel after the game. Anthony was suspended Wednesday for confronting Garnett after the game and attempting to approach him at the Celtics' team bus.
Rivers accused Anthony of trying to put the focus on Garnett.
"Guys, you know how this works," Rivers told reporters. "A guy does something crazy like Carmelo did, and the way to get out of trouble is to say, 'Well, he said this.'"