December 3, 2013
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We’re talking ‘bout practice …

Peak Performers … After playing in all 82 games last year, it’s fair to call Tristan Thompson the team’s iron man. But on Tuesday afternoon, the third-year forward took it a step further.

The usual questions about playing with Andrew Bynum and where the Cavaliers are defensively took a backseat when Thompson appeared wearing a Zephyr performance-monitoring tank top – complete with the Iron Man-looking “bio-patch” in the center of his chest. (Dion Waiters, working out on the far court, was also wearing one.)

Zephyr is a company that specializes in performance-monitoring solutions designed to measure the vital signs of individuals and teams in training. And athletes aren’t the only ones to use Zephyr’s technology. It’s also used for first responders and military personnel to measure, track and improve endurance, predict and avoid dehydration and injury from heat stress and exhaustion and remotely identify the severity of injury due to trauma.

Zephyr’s clients include Hedrick Motorsports, Ohio State Women’s Hockey and even Bishop Desmond Tutu, who recently donned a Zephyr bio-patch to assist with cordless patient monitoring.

“It’s kind of to read calories and load you burn,” surmised Thompson. “But it’s just new technology; showing how much the game has grown. And (it’s) just a way to prevent injuries and let the front office and the coaches know when guys are tired and when to pull back from practice or when guys need rest.”

Mike Brown talked about the new technology that wasn’t around during his last stint in Cleveland.

“It charts their endurance and all that other stuff that’s above my head,” smiled Brown. “Because now in every NBA arena, they have the cameras they can track how far guys are running and all this other stuff and that’s something similar. (Zephyr) just tracks heart-rate on the amount of work they’ve done.”

The in-arena cameras that Brown spoke of refers to the new SportVU technology, which debuted in the NBA during the 2010-11, with about a half-dozen teams – including the Cavaliers – subscribing to their service. The cameras track the movement of every object on the court – players, the ball, referees – several times per second, providing new stats and measurements on everything from how many times a player dribbles to how many miles an hour he’s moving.

Brown relies on the Cavs performance team to inform him of the results.

“It’s above my head, but (the performance team) will let me know if we went too long or if we can go longer, if certain guys are working harder than other guys in practice.”

Asked if the coaching staff will be next to be monitored by Zephyr, Brown joked, “No, because they might look at me and see that I have the least amount of load. We don’t want that information out there.”

Listen as Tristan Thompson and Head Coach Mike Brown discuss Tuesday's practice with the media.

TRISTAN THOMPSON

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COACH BROWN

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