The Cleveland Cavaliers are not the only team to deal with injuries this season, but they are certainly near the top in terms of the sheer volume of players missing games. Only three players have appeared in all 11 games, and heading into tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons the injury list is yet again a long one.
The consistent absences have unsurprisingly hampered Cleveland’s ability to field its best teams, and as a result, they sit a game under .500 after their first 11 games. Coming off of a win in Portland to finish their road trip, who will be available to play for the Cavaliers as they look to win two games in a row for the first time all season?
UPDATE 6:54 pm ET: Darius Garland WILL PLAY tonight after missing a game with a neck strain. Donovan Mitchell is OUT tonight due to a hamstring strain. Dean Wade will reportedly start in place of Mitchell (per Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor).
The Cavaliers won Wednesday night against the Trail Blazers without their All-Star point guard Darius Garland, who was out with a neck strain. As of the time of publishing, his status for tonight’s home game is QUESTIONABLE with that neck strain. We’ll provide an update here as soon as more information comes out.
If Garland misses the game, it could mean more run for undrafted rookie Craig Porter Jr., who played nine minutes on Wednesday and could be in line for another crack at the backup point guard spot. In Garland’s absence, the Cavs have largely cobbled together point guard by committee, with Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert sharing duties. Mitchell likely starts at point guard tonight if Garland can’t go.
Unfortunately for Garland and the Cavaliers, this is not the first injury issue of the season for the talented point guard. He suffered a hamstring injury right at the start of the season that saw him hampered in the season opener and held him out of the next four games. He returned for the next five before suffering this most recent neck strain.
Injuries have been a part of Garland’s career thus far; he suffered an eye injury in last season’s opener and missed five games, appearing in 69 of the team’s 82 games over the course of the year. He suffered a meniscus injury near the start of his freshman season at Vanderbilt and missed the rest of the year.
In an unfortunate development for the Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell has also made his way onto the injury report with hamstring soreness. He missed a game earlier in the season against the Indiana Pacers nursing a hamstring injury, and has been playing over 36 minutes per game carrying the load with Garland and others out so often. It’s no surprise that it’s flaring up.
As of this writing, Mitchell is likewise listed as QUESTIONABLE for tonight’s game against the Pistons.
Ricky Rubio remains away from the team, and Ty Jerome is OUT for tonight and does not appear particularly close to a return. Isaac Okoro will hopefully be back soon as he rests his knee, but is also OUT for tonight.
Tonight’s game against the Pistons is not only a chance to get back to .500 on the season, but it is also the Cavaliers’ second In-Season Tournament Game. After dropping a close game to the Indiana Pacers to open things up, Cleveland realistically needs to win each of their last three group-stage games to advance to the knockout rounds.
That means tonight is a must-win for their tournament hopes. The team hopes to have as many hands on deck as possible to take on a plucky Pistons squad and notch an important win.