Is Donovan Mitchell playing? Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic playoff injury updates

Latest injury news for Donovan Mitchell of Cleveland Cavaliers ahead of Game One versus the Orlando Magic.
Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

At the tail end of another MVP-caliber season, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar Donovan Mitchell has battled against a variety of injuries from lingering knee soreness to a nasal fracture.

Health concerns have plagued the Cavaliers squad all season after Evan Mobley and Darius Garland were sidelined for more than a month. As Cleveland finally approaches the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Orlando Magic, they will hope to see consistent health and durability from their starring core. At the helm of the four-seeded Cavs is Donovan Mitchell, their leading scorer and driving force on the court.

Fortunately, the Cavaliers had time to recover after game 82 as the So-Fi Play-In Tournament took place to determine the seventh and eighth seeds in their respective conferences. Cleveland finished the year as the four seed in the Eastern Conference, securing homecourt advantage over the Magic in the opening two games.

Mitchell missed the final game of the regular season for injury management when the Cavaliers fell at home to the Charlotte Hornets in what may have been an intentional loss. Since then, Mitchell has adamantly assured the public he is "100 percent" for the postseason. He is currently absent from the team's injury report and should be present for the start of the series.

Donovan Mitchell's impact on the Cavaliers is unmatched this year

Despite back-to-back seasons averaging more than 26 points and career-highs in assists (6.1) and rebounds (5.1) per game, Mitchell became ineligible to receive regular-season awards or accolades due to the new 65-game requirement installed by the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Last season, Mitchell earned his first ever All-NBA team selection, marking a tremendous step forward for the NBA superstar.

Still, Mitchell represented Cleveland as the sole All-Star in Indianapolis, Indiana this year. This marks Mitchell's second season as an East All-Star for the Cavaliers, leading them to the playoffs both seasons. Though last year's postseason fell apart against the New York Knicks, Cleveland is embracing the lessons in the embarrassing loss and entering this series with a determined mindset across the board.

Mitchell's presence alone will raise the Cavaliers' ceiling, as the team struggled to find any semblance of consistency after the All-Star break during Mitchell's injury woes. Without Mitchell in the lineup, the Cavs hold a disappointing 12-15 record. Fellow star guard Darius Garland suffered injuries throughout the year, halting his progress and ability to discover rhythm this year.

Entering their first game versus the Magic, the Cavaliers will lean on Donovan Mitchell to establish an authority over the inexperienced Orlando squad. Cleveland knew the pains of inexperience last year in the playoffs but enter this postseason with greater depth, shooting and knowledge of the environment. The Cavs spent most of the final stretch of the regular season with a high likelihood to face either the Magic or Indiana Pacers in the first round, barring any major changes to the standings. This means Cleveland has had ample time to prepare a strategy entering the series, focusing on key matchups and crucial weakness of their rival.

The Cavaliers enter the series as favorites thanks in no small part to Donovan Mitchell's superb gravity on offense and improved defensive impact this year. Although the Cavs were assigned an underwhelming Saturday matinee time slot at 1:00 pm Eastern Time, they have all the talent necessary to give the audience a show as they try to rewrite their story from last playoffs.

Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Orlando Magic for games one and two before traveling to Florida for more playoff hoops (and better weather) for the next pair of games. All times and dates for the first four confirmed games have been released by the NBA, and more schedules will be released if necessary.

Fans at home can watch the game on ESPN on Saturday, April 20 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time with a pre-game show starting at 12:30 pm.

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