Garland, who has just begun his fourth season of NBA basketball, played just 13 minutes in Wednesday’s game before he had to exit due to an eye injury.
Despite losing Garland for a majority of the game on Wednesday, the Cavs still managed to nearly gut out a win. They lost to the tune of 108-105 in enemy territory. The Cavs will next take the court on Saturday to face the Chicago Bulls. According to a recent report, they are preparing for that game as if Garland will not yet be ready to go.
#Cavs Darius Garland (eye) did not practice with the team today. He was back at the hotel. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Garland’s left eye is swollen closed and the team is currently preparing as if Garland won’t play against Chicago. However his official playing status is unclear
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) October 20, 2022
Given the nature of the injury, it is not all that shocking to learn that Garland may have to miss another game. If he does end up missing Saturday’s game against the Bulls, his next chance to suit up would be in the Cavs’ home opener against the Washington Wizards the following day. The Cavs then play next Wednesday against the Orlando Magic.
If Garland has to miss one or more games, it will be interesting to see how the team’s lineup changes as a result. Conventional wisdom would lead one to assume that backup point guard Raul Neto will likely fill in for Garland. However, it is also possible that Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff will choose to get a bit more creative with his lineup.
He could move Donovan Mitchell down to the point guard spot, then shift Caris LeVert from small forward to shooting guard. The starting small forward spot would then likely either be filled by Cedi Osman or Isaac Okoro.
Though it is a shame that Garland will have to likely miss time as a result of the injury, it is a good reminder that the Cavs finally have the talent needed to fill in gaps in the roster if a player has to miss time. Moreover, it is great that Garland’s injury is not more serious than it is. Bickerstaff confirmed following the game that Garland had not suffered any kind of head injury.
#Cavs J.B. Bickerstaff said Darius Garland has a laceration on the inside of his eyelid. "So obviously uncomfortable spot. His head and everything was clear, but he was cut and bleeding pretty bad from the inside of his eyelid."
— Kelsey Russo (@kelseyyrusso) October 20, 2022
Surely, Bickerstaff will offer an update on Garland’s status for Saturday as soon as an official decision is made.