On Wednesday night, the 2023-24 season will tip off for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland is looking to build off of their 2022-23 campaign, where they made the playoffs for the first time since 2018, before losing in the first round to the New York Knicks.
For the Wine and Gold, this is a new year beginning tonight, and after Cleveland’s offseason additions, the team should be better off. Returning to the playoffs last season, and that experience, will be meaningful for them as a group, too.
So, first up this season, the Cavaliers will face the Brooklyn Nets, a pesky squad that will be trying to return to the playoffs as well. Heading into this season opener, though, the Cavaliers will be without Jarrett Allen, who is out on Wednesday because of him steal getting back to speed in dealing with a bone bruise in his ankle, which led to him missing all of preseason. From there, Dean is out as well, as he’s dealt with an illness the past few days and reportedly did not make the team trip.
On a positive note, it was encouraging news that star guard Darius Garland should be able to go to begin the season; he is currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game due to a hamstring strain, but he should be in there it seems. Based on this report from Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com from Wednesday, one would imagine that plays out.
Garland is questionable tonight with what’s designated as a hamstring strain. It’s not ideal that in Game 1 of the new campaign that he is on the Cavaliers injury report, and hamstring ailments are tough. Issues like these can definitely limit players, and for Garland, with his on-ball abilities and change of direction quickness, it’s imperative Cleveland exercises the necessary precaution day-to-day and from a treatment perspective as needed.
However, Fedor’s report about Garland going through shootaround as normal was a great update for Cleveland, and while it’s not a certainty at this stage, it would seem to be suprising if Garland was not on the floor tonight. Provided there’s no setback in warm-ups for Darius Garland, it would appear likely he’s in the contest, and hopefully, he is ready to help be a driving force and continue to be a terrific playmaker and shooter for the Cavs.
But, realistically, with his minor injury/ailment to begin the season, the Cavaliers may want to have others be a bit more involved from a playmaking standpoint to help out Darius Garland here. The team utilizing Garland some more off-ball could be sensible in that aspect, and to perhaps feature Ty Jerome some more from a rotational perspective, as Jerome makes winning plays and can hit shots in his own right.
Recently, in response to the earlier injury designation, Garland is now playing tonight for the Cavaliers. So DG the PG will be in action to start off the new campaign.
This injury for Garland doesn’t seem to be too much to be concerned about in the early part of the season here, the team just has to ensure they don’t put too much on him too soon with hamstring injuries at times lingering.
It’d be great to watch Cleveland get off to a good start here in an intriguing matchup.