The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a rough season so far, and it seems that it is going to get worse. The team announced on Friday that Darius Garland and Evan Mobley both suffered significant injuries with various recovery timelines. Garland sustained a fractured jaw in Thursday’s loss to the Boston Celtics and Mobley will have left knee surgery. According to the team, Garland is expected to miss four weeks and Mobley could be out for for 6-8 weeks. All of this comes at a bad time for the Cavaliers as they also try to make the playoffs.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 15, 2023
What Injuries To Darius Garland And Evan Mobley Mean For The Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers are 14-12 heading into Sunday’s slate of games, good for eighth in the Eastern Conference. So, on that front, everything seems to be fine for Cleveland in terms of their playoff aspirations. Star guard Donovan Mitchell is playing well enough to keep the team afloat until the team gets healthier. With that being said, it’s time to look into how things change for Cleveland after the injuries.
How Darius Garland’s Injury Impacts The Team
Garland is the point guard for the Cavaliers and is the table-setter for the entire squad. Other than Mitchell, everyone else is looking to Garland to get them open shots. That, along with his 5.9 assists per game, will be on the sideline for the time being. That will most likely force Mitchell into a role of having to do the scoring and the facilitating. The good news is that Mitchell is just behind Garland in terms of assists per game (5.5). So, Mitchell should be able to create more, but it may lower his overall efficiency.
How Evan Mobley’s Injury Impacts The Team
Mobley has been working in tandem with center Jarrett Allen to lock up in the interior of the defense. However, with Mobley out of the lineup, Allen and others will have to pick up their paint defense. Mobley does a lot, leading the team in rebounds per game (10.5) and blocks per game (1.7). Mobley has shown how important he is to Cleveland on both ends of the floor, as he’s third on the team in points per game (16.0). Allen and Max Strus will have to pick up their scoring in order to help Mitchell lead a productive offense.
The Last Word
At this moment in time, the Cavaliers are still in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. However, if the playoffs ended today, Cleveland would have to make the playoffs through the Play-In Tournament. That isn’t a death knell like it sounds, since the Miami Heat made it to the Finals from there.
Having to do it from the Play-In does make the road harder than usual and Cleveland needs a break. The hope is that someone can step up to help Mitchell so that the Cavaliers stay afloat in the meantime. That means bigger roles for Allen, Strus, and even someone like bench scorer Caris LeVert. Cleveland is having horrible injury luck, but the season is not lost.