Report: Evan Mobley to miss extended period of time with right ankle sprain

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Cleveland Cavaliers second-year forward Evan Mobley reportedly will miss time with an ankle sprain.

Mobley, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, is expected to be a major part of the Cavs rotation after he put up solid numbers in his rookie season. Mobley was a candidate to win the league’s Rookie of the Year award, but Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes ended up beating him out for the honor.

The Cavs already have ruled Mobley out for their preseason opener on Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Cavs have four preseason games before the start of the 2022-23 regular season. They will play the Sixers twice, Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic before opening the season on Oct. 19 against Barnes and the Raptors.

The timetable for Mobley’s injury should put him on track to return for the season opener, as two weeks from today is Oct. 17.

Last season, Mobley averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocks per game in the 2021-22 season while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.

He became an extremely important player for the Cavs on both ends of the floor, forming an elite shot-blocking duo with center Jarrett Allen. The Cavs are hoping Mobley continues to take a step defensively, as they view him as a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate in his career, similar to former NBA star Kevin Garnett.

The Cavs will likely turn to Kevin Love, Dean Wade and veteran Robin Lopez to pick up some of the slack down low if Mobley misses into the regular season. The Cavs traded away Lauri Markkanen this offseason in the deal for Donovan Mitchell, so they have a little less depth at the forward position entering the 2022-23 season.

The bright side for Cleveland is Mobley’s injury doesn’t seem serious, and the team certainly can manage a few games with him out of the lineup.

Cleveland starts the 2022-23 regular season with back-to-back road games before playing its home opener on Oct. 23. against the Washington Wizards.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.