Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters claims that a recent report that he got into a physical fight with teammate Kyrie Irving is false.
Waiters, a second-year player and the Cavaliers' 2012 lottery draft pick, missed two games over the weekend after allegedly being diagnosed with “flu-like symptoms,” the Associated Press reports. However, Waiters’ absence after a players-only meeting, coupled with Irving’s broken nose and black eye, fueled rumors that the backcourt mates had gotten into some sort of fight.
In an interview with reporters after Monday’s practice, Waiters categorically denied the rumors of physical confrontation. "I'd rather fight somebody else on the other team than one of my teammates,'' Waiters said, according to AP. ''That's the way it is. That's the way I was brought up. I feel as though we say we're family, then we're a family and I'm going to look out for you to the best of my abilities. All the other stuff is foolishness.''
Tensions appeared to boil over last Wednesday, when the Cavaliers suffered a blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The team was reportedly so furious with its performance that Irving asked head coach Mike Brown to leave the locker room so that he could hold a players-only meeting, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. Waiters was sent home after last Thursday’s practice with an “illness,” causing some to suggest that he had been involved in an incident during the meeting.
On Monday, Waiters said that the meeting was useful for easing tension in the Cavaliers locker room, but reiterated that it never became violent. ''We got it off our chests,'' Waiters said. ''I think we needed it and we can move forward. We're men. Nobody got into no altercations or anything like that. We got everything off our chests that we needed. That's that. All the other rumors, man, are rumors. Don't believe it. It's not true.”
Despite Waiters’ denial, Irving has been wearing a mask to protect an apparent nasal fracture. The Big Lead notes that Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer struck Irving in the face with an elbow last Wednesday, but it’s unclear if that incident caused his broken nose.