After a much-needed three nights off, the Cleveland Cavaliers are back in action against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are riding high after beating the Phoenix Suns on Christmas night as MVP-candidate Luka Doncic became just the fourth player in NBA history to score 50 points on Christmas Day.
The Cavaliers have impressed since learning they would be without Evan Mobley and Darius Garland for the foreseeable future, winning three of four games to keep their playoff hopes on track. Who will be available to play on Wednesday night? Will the Cavs have their star guard back in the lineup? Let's look at the latest reporting on the Cavaliers and their myriad of injuries.
Will Donovan Mitchell play tonight?
UPDATE: Donovan Mitchell is OUT for tonight's game as he regains his conditioning.
Mitchell has missed the Cavaliers last three games due to a non-COVID illness. To their credit, the Cavs fought to win two of those three games, beating the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls while losing to the New Orleans Pelicans. Playing the Dallas Mavericks would be the greatest challenge yet if Mitchell was unable to suit up.
As of Wednesday morning, Mitchell is currently listed as QUESTIONABLE to play tonight against the Mavericks. He traveled to Dallas with the team and there is hope that he will be able to play. As more information is reported we will update this post with the latest.
What about other Cavaliers injuries?
In addition to Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, who remain out long-term recovering from their respective surgeries, a number of other Cavaliers players are dealing with injuries.
Ty Jerome remains OUT with no timetable for his return as he recovers from an ankle injury. Moving up the leg, Caris LeVert is QUESTIONABLE for tonight's game after missing Saturday's win in Chicago with a knee injury.
Finally, after putting together career performances in back-to-back wins, Sam Merrill injured his wrist and was limited in the loss to the Pelicans before sitting out the game in Chicago. He is listed as DOUBTFUL for tonight's game and is expected to continue resting it.
Mavericks injury report
The Cavaliers aren't the only team facing injury absences tonight; the Dallas Mavericks have a long list of their own. The battle between Mitchell and Doncic tonight may be exciting, but their respective co-stars will be sitting this one out.
Kyrie Irving remains OUT as he recovers from a heel injury that has kept him out of the last nine games. He will be joined on the bench by Maxi Kleber (toe) and Josh Green (elbow) who are both OUT tonight.
Expected starting lineups
The Mavericks are expected to have their same group together to face the Cavaliers as they did against the Suns on Christmas. They will therefore likely start:
- Luka Doncic
- Dante Exum
- Tim Hardaway Jr.
- Derick Jones Jr.
- Dereck Lively II
As for the Cavaliers, their lineup is much more up-in-the-air with multiple players questionable. If Donovan Mitchell is available to play, this is likely the group they will go with:
- Donovan Mitchell
- Max Strus
- Isaac Okoro
- Dean Wade
- Jarrett Allen
If Mitchell cannot go, look for Craig Porter Jr. to get the start and Caris LeVert (if he plays, obviously) to retain his Sixth Man role off the bench but play significant minutes carrying the offensive attack. Jarrett Allen will also be heavily involved testing the merit of rookie center Dereck Lively II.