CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cavaliers’ surprisingly strong start met a sudden problem.
Rookie forward Evan Mobley will miss several weeks with a sprained right elbow, an injury that threatens to slow Cleveland’s momentum early in the season and test the depth of the young team up front .
The No.3 pick in this year’s draft, Mobley was injured in Monday night’s 98-92 loss to Boston. He was fighting for the position under the basket at the end of the third quarter when his arm attached to Celtics big man Enes Kanter.
The Cavs said an MRI performed on Tuesday confirmed the initial diagnosis of a sprain. Mobley will begin treatment and rehabilitation, and the team estimates his return to court in “approximately 2-4 weeks.”
“We play this game for a certain reason, for the love and compassion you have for it and it is always frustrating and disappointing when it is taken away from you when it is an injury and it is out of your hands. control, ”said coach JB Bickerstaff. “We want to make sure he’s okay and we want to make sure he’s in a good mood.”
Mobley’s loss is a blow to the Cavs, who were not expected to do much but are 9-6 after winning just 22 games last season. The 20-year-old USC player may have been the main reason for Cleveland’s quick turnaround.
He is averaging 14.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while displaying a calm demeanor on the court that contradicts his age.
Bickerstaff called Mobley’s injury an “outlier” because it happened on a joint play.
“The guys get tangled up for the rebounds, competing for loose balls and stuff,” Bickerstaff said on a Zoom call. “It wasn’t a dirty game, nothing like it – two guys playing basketball and it happens.”
Mobley’s injury is just the latest for the Cavs, who were deprived of top scorer Collin Sexton for a week with a knee injury and have just come back forward Isaac Okoro after missing seven games with a hamstring problem.
In addition, starting center Jarrett Allen missed Monday’s game due to illness and won’t make the trip to play in Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Forwards Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen recently approved NBA health protocols and are working on their conditioning before playing. Bickerstaff said there was a possibility that Love could come back against the Nets.
After Mobley was injured, the Cavs finished with just nine players against the Celtics.
“Everyone has to do their part,” Bickerstaff said. “We’re obviously below him (Mobley), but we’re below other bodies. It’s the NBA, with 82 games, at some point everyone will have an opportunity. And everyone has to do it. one step forward and do a little more.
“We can’t expect one person to replace Evan or Kevin or Lauri or any of the guys who were absent. We have to be a group where everyone is doing a little bit more and trying to fill that gap. ”
Bickerstaff said the 7-foot-6-inch Ed Davis and Tacko Fall could get some extra playing time. After facing the Nets, the Cavs host the Golden State Warriors on Thursday before getting a welcome three-day break.
“We just need to get through these next two games and take advantage of the three-day break to get healthy, but our identity shouldn’t change,” Bickerstaff said. “We should always eliminate the same, compete the same. None of that should change.”
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