Is Evan Mobley playing tonight? Latest injury update for Cavaliers vs Clippers on Jan 9

Caris LeVert and Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers
Caris LeVert and Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been white-hot over the last six weeks, going 14-4 with the league's best defense and a Top-10 offense. Donovan Mitchell has led the way on offense surrounded by gunners, while Jarrett Allen has locked down the paint with the likes of Dean Wade and Isaac Okoro manning the perimeter.

The only team with a better record in the NBA over that span? The LA Clippers, who come to town tonight in a showdown of sizzling teams. The Clippers have gelled after their early-season trade for James Harden and are flying up the Western Conference standings, mirroring the Cavs' rise in the East.

What makes the Cavaliers' run so impressive is that they have been playing without two of their best players in Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, who have each been out since the middle of December. Will either of those players be returning tonight? It sounds like it may be the case.

Is Evan Mobley playing tonight? Latest injury update

Evan Mobley missed three games in the middle of December, all losses, before it was announced that he would be undergoing "minor" knee surgery to remove loose bodies. No surgery is ever truly minor, especially one going into a knee, but removing loose bodies is generally less invasive than interacting with the meniscus.

Mobley is both young and generally healthy, and has reportedly attacked his rehab with intensity. The knee has responded well, and Mobley accompanied the team on their road trip last week and practiced fully with them, paving the way for his return.

That return looks like it will come tonight:'s Chris Fedor has been plugged in with Mobley and his rehab throughout the last six weeks, and he broke the news on Sunday that Mobley was expected to return, after hinting at it last week. He is therefore PROBABLE to play tonight.

Mobley will also be on a minutes restriction in the neighborhood of 20 minutes, so he will not be playing his normal complement of minutes.

Darius Garland injury update

Darius Garland has been out since December 16th with a broken jaw suffered against the Boston Celtics. His jaw was literally wired shut and he was unable to work out or even eat solid foods for weeks.

The wiring has been removed and Garland is ramping up for a return to play. Fedor hinted that his return is likely imminent. For tonight's game, however, Garland is still listed as OUT against the Clippers.

Who else is playing tonight?

Donovan Mitchell is listed on the Cavaliers' injury report with right groin soreness, but he is PROBABLE and expected to play, barring an unexpected development during the day. Ty Jerome has not played since the second game of the season and last week underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle to try and is OUT indefinitely.

For the Clippers, they are without some of their frontcourt players for tonight's game. Reserve forward Moussa Diabate is out, but the larger hit is starting center Ivica Zubac, who is OUT for at least another two weeks with a right calf strain.

Starting lineups

The Clippers are likely to start Mason Plumlee at center in place of Zubac, with James Harden, Terance Mann, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard rounding out the starting lineup.

It's unclear whether Evan Mobley will return directly into the starting lineup or if he will come off of the bench. It would be much cleaner to bring him in off the bench if he can only play 20 minutes, especially as the Cavs will likely want him as the backup center, but Mobley has started all 169 games of his career so he may not want to break that streak.

If Mobley doesn't start, look for the lineup to be Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade and Jarrett Allen. If he does, Isaac Okoro is the most likely candidate to be moved to the bench.

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