The Cleveland Cavaliers have been impacted as much as any team in the league by injuries to start the season. They have stumbled to a 1-2 start that directly tracks with the availability of their stars: with one All-Star out they won a close game, with two out they lost a close game, and with three out they lost by 12.
Tonight the Cavaliers have the first marquee matchup of the season, a Halloween tussle with the New York Knicks where they hope to banish the ghosts of the past. Who will be available to suit up tonight? Will the Cavs have their All-NBA guard to lead the way?
The latest injury news from Chris Fedor:
At the time of publication, the answer to this question is still unknown. Donovan Mitchell missed Saturday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers with a hamstring injury, and he is listed as questionable on the injury report with that injury. Muscle injuries like a hamstring are notoriously difficult to project, and it may come down to a game-time decision for Mitchell and the Cavaliers.
It’s a good sign that he was able to practice on Monday:
We will update this article as soon as more information is provided on Mitchell’s status for tonight’s important game.
While Mitchell’s status is still up in the air, it’s not a good sign that the Cavaliers ruled out multiple other key players a day early. As reported by Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor:
That will mean four consecutive missed games to start the season for Jarrett Allen, in addition to the entirety of the preseason. Darius Garland will be missing his third consecutive game, while Jerome has now missed two straight contests. The fact that all three were ruled out a full day in advance is a bad sign for their availability on Wednesday night in New York.
If Mitchell is unable to go, it’s most likely that Isaac Okoro will get the nod into the starting lineup (with Caris LeVert already starting in place of Darius Garland). That could mean a starting lineup of:
- Caris LeVert
- Isaac Okoro
- Max Strus
- Dean Wade
- Evan Mobley
Thankfully for the Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell does not have the long, torturous injury history that many star players now have. Throughout his career, he has been relatively healthy, and the injuries he has sustained have generally been of a short-term variety.
Last season, Mitchell missed individual games for finger, hand, ankle and leg injuries, and missed a few games rehabbing a groin injury. He played in 68 games all told last year, and the only season of his career that he played fewer than 67 games was in 2020-21, a COVID-shortened season when Mitchell missed the final few weeks of the season with an ankle injury.
The New York Knicks do not have any players currently listed on their injury report, so they will presumably have all hands on deck to try and pummel the short-handed Cavs. That only makes the challenge more difficult as Evan Mobley tries to lead the team back to .500.
It’s a long season, and losing a few games early in order to have the core healthy for the length of the season is the right play. Hopefully, Donovan Mitchell can play tonight and help the Cavs battle their playoff rivals on Halloween night.