Is Darius Garland playing tonight? Latest injury update for Cavaliers vs. Magic

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers
Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers / Ron Schwane/GettyImages

The Cleveland Cavaliers are entering the final stretch of the 2023-24 regular season with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference as they host Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Following the All-Star Break, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to solidify their spot as a premier team in the East. With 29 games left, the Cavaliers have the fifteenth hardest remaining schedule, per Tankathon. They will play five games in seven nights a handful of times to make up for their trip to Paris, France which gave them one game in eight days.

Back-to-back contests are a hotbed for injuries, and falling victim to another injury bug this late into the season could seriously harm the Cavaliers' postseason hopes. Against the Orlando Magic, though, their injury news is not only safe but improving. Donovan Mitchell has been downgraded from available to day-to-day after playing in the All-Star festivities, but both Darius Garland and Evan Mobley received good news this weekend.

Will Darius Garland stay on a minutes restriction versus the Orlando Magic?

While Mobley has come back from his knee surgery looking even better than he did before his injury, Darius Garland has needed more time to recondition himself to NBA basketball. Garland had lost a dozen pounds during his time with a wired jaw and being restricted from any real physical exertion. When both players returned, they were placed on a 20-24 minute restriction to avoid repeated injuries.

In his nine games since returning, Garland has averaged 12.7 points and six assists. His shooting splits have dipped, and it has been clear that the young star has been readjusting. According to Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, both Garland and Mobley will have their minutes restrictions lifted, allowing them to regain their momentum as the playoffs approach.

The one-time All-Star point guard may be without his partner in crime if Mitchell is ruled out by tip off, but this might be a blessing in disguise to allow Garland to lead the charge offensively and find his rhythm again. Last season, lineups including Garland and Mitchell at the same time had an offensive rating of 117.7 and a defensive rating of 109.7. The two guards have been elite together, but a chance for Garland to take the lead could serve him well right now.

Darius Garland has suffered awful injury luck in the past two seasons, enduring two extremely rare face injuries early in both years. On opening night last season against the Toronto Raptors, Garland took an accidental swipe to the eye from Gary Trent, Jr., lacerating his eyelid and putting Garland out of commission for five games. This year, Garland fractured his jaw after colliding with Kristaps Porzingis in a December loss to the Boston Celtics.

Throughout both injuries, Garland showed a determination to return to the court and provide the Cavaliers with everything he can offer. As he comes off of a minutes restriction, Garland will finally see his chance to find himself again amid a down year.

As for Evan Mobley, he and Jarrett Allen have had seemingly no issues playing alongside one another again. For the most part, Bickerstaff has staggered their playing time and used Mobley as the starting four and backup five. With Mobley available for more time on the court, the duo will likely share the hardwood more frequently going forward.

Their game against the Magic will be another opportunity for Mobley to showcase his new-found knack for knocking down the open three-ball. Consistently providing any level of shooting to the Cavs will drastically improve Mobley's fit with Allen. Both players have shown tremendous growth in confidence and rebounding this year, making Mobley's shooting even more impactful.

When and how to watch the Cavaliers host the Magic

Darius Garland and the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers will take center stage against the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic at 7:00 pm Eastern Time in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The game will be available on Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports Florida and NBA League Pass.

It is the fourth and final matchup between the two conference rivals. The Cavs won two of the first three games. Tonight's game could be a preview of a first-round playoff series between Cleveland and Orlando should the standings remain unchanged by the postseason. At the eighth spot in the East, the Magic will play in the first round of the Play-In Tournament for the seventh seed, which would pair them with the Cavaliers in round one.

How the Cavs compare to conference rivals post All-Star Break. How the Cavs compare to conference rivals post All-Star Break. dark. Next