Ilgauskas welcomed in Cleveland return

Updated: March 28, 2010, 5:36 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CLEVELAND -- Zydrunas Ilgauskas is back in his basketball home.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' towering center, recently re-signed after being traded to Washington, returned to a hero's welcome on Sunday in his first home game back with Cleveland.

The Cavaliers beat the Sacramento Kings 97-90.

When Ilgauskas, known simply as "Z" to Cleveland fans, checked in with 4:02 left in the first quarter for Antawn Jamison, fans held up "Z" placards and filled Quicken Loans Arena with the familiar, droning "Zeeeeeeee," a sound that was missing while he was away.

Ilgauskas is the Cavs' career leader in games played, blocked shots and rebounds. The 7-foot-3 Lithuanian was drafted by the club in 1996 and overcame serious foot injuries that nearly ended his career.

Ilgauskas returned as forward Anderson Varejao sat out Cleveland's game against the Kings because of a sore left hamstring.

Varejao was hurt in Friday's loss at San Antonio and Cavs coach Mike Brown decided to rest him Sunday because Cleveland has two days off following the game against the Kings.

The club's energetic reserve is averaging 8.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and is being promoted by the team as a strong candidate for the league's sixth man award.

The five-year veteran has missed only three games this season.

While the Cavaliers welcomed back a mainstay of their lineup, the injury-depleted Kings lost yet another player in the first quarter.

Dominic McGuire left the game in the first quarter with a bruised right foot, further depleting a team already riddled with injuries.

McGuire started Sunday in place of Francisco Garcia, who was out after injuring his wrist Friday at Boston.

Spencer Hawes also strained his lower back in that game and was missing against the Cavaliers, as were reserve Sean May (bruised knee) and rookie Tyreke Evans. Evans is missing his fifth-straight game with a concussion.

Jason Thompson started in place of Hawes at center.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.