Report: Evan Mobely to return from injury for Cavs preseason finale vs. Magic

Evan Mobley and Domantas Sabonis

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley has been dealing with a sprained right ankle that’s kept him out of all of the team’s preseason games so far.

He was recently seen making encouraging progress and is now set to return for the team’s final tune-up game against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Though Mobley will be back, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff will be missing several other starters in Friday’s game. It appears as though some stars are getting the night off to extend their time off prior to the team’s regular season debut next week.

Mobley, Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen all have guaranteed spots in Cleveland’s starting lineup. The lone question mark remains at the small forward position.

Caris LeVert seems to have the inside track to the job, but third-year wing Isaac Okoro started on Wednesday and turned in a solid performance against the Atlanta Hawks.

He went for 16 points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals in 33 minutes of action and showed off a nice shooting stroke. Shooting has been Okoro’s main issue since he entered the NBA and could ultimately leave him with a bench role this season. However, if Wednesday was any indication, that issue might have been fixed during the offseason.

Gearing up for a big season

As for Mobley, he’s surely excited to get his first taste of preseason action on Friday. The 21-year-old averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocks per game last season and finished second behind Scottie Barnes in Rookie of the Year voting.

Many people are expecting him to have a breakout season in the 2022-23 campaign, and he could be the key to Cleveland’s success this season.

Bickerstaff recently said that the Cavs want Mobley to be in the conversation for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Some might think that’s wishful thinking, but that doesn’t seem too far-fetched when looking at Mobley on defense.

Cleveland is set to open its regular season on the road against the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 19. It will look to start things off on the right foot after failing to advance out of the play-in tournament last season.

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