The Cleveland Cavaliers are back in action on Friday night, and while it may seem like a ho-hum early-season matchup with the Indiana Pacers, it is anything but. The NBA’s In-Season Tournament kicks off tonight, and the Cavs and Pacers will officially tip-off as the first game of the first-ever tournament.
The Cavs would obviously like to win tonight, both getting them back to .500 on the season and starting them off strong for the tournament’s group stage. Yet the question hanging over the game and the Cavs’ first week of games has been injuries. Who will even be available to suit up for the Cavaliers tonight? Will they have their All-Star backcourt together for the first time since Opening Night?
Update: Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen are both active tonight.
Darius Garland has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury, and each time has been ruled out a full day ahead of time. That’s the good news: as of noon ET he hasn’t yet been ruled out, so he’s at the very least trending in the right direction. He is currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game.
More good news comes from Garland’s presence at today’s morning shootaround, as reported by Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor:
Check out that wild blue and yellow court for the In-Season Tournament!
With Ty Jerome still out with an ankle injury and Ricky Rubio away from the team, the Cavaliers need Garland back on the court even more than usual. We’ll provide an update here as soon as more information comes out about Garland’s status.
Jarrett Allen has been out for even longer than Garland, missing the entirety of the preseason as well as each of Cleveland’s first five games to start the season. Allen, nursing a bone bruise on his ankle, has been steadily ramping up his involvement in practice and is trending toward a return, whether that’s tonight or in the next couple of games.
This week, Allen’s ramp-up has included practicing with the Cleveland Charge, as reported by Evan Dammarrell of Right Down Euclid:
The Cavaliers have struggled defensively without Allen in the middle, ranking just 15th in defensive rating a season after they finished first. He will also provide a vertical spacing element to the offense and push less-polished players further down the pecking order.
As mentioned above, Ty Jerome and Ricky Rubio remain out for tonight’s game. There has been no reporting on Rubio’s situation since the start of Training Camp, so he will presumably be absent for the foreseeable future. Jerome continues to be ruled out a day ahead of time, so he is likely to miss at least a few more games rehabbing his ankle injury.
The Cavaliers are not the only team dealing with an injury to their All-Star point guard, as Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers is also questionable for tonight’s game with an ankle injury. Without Haliburton on Wednesday the Pacers lost by a whopping 51 points to the Boston Celtics, 155-104. Big man Jalen Smith is also questionable with a knee injury.
We will update this page with injury news as it comes available during the day, so check back later on to see if Garland, Allen and Haliburton will be playing tonight.