Report: Darius Garland targeting Friday return for Cavs vs. Celtics

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Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the 2022-23 season with high expectations.

Unfortunately, they hit a snag when starting point guard Darius Garland went down with an eye injury in the team’s season opener against the Toronto Raptors.

Garland is reportedly eyeing a Friday return. However, his absence could possibly extend a few days more.

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard Darius Garland, who did not play in Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls because of a left eyelid laceration, is targeting a Friday return, sources tell,” wrote Chris Fedor.

“However, a source says his absence could extend into next weekend.”

The All-Star sustained the injury after playing just 13 minutes in the team’s season opener. Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. inadvertently poked Garland’s left eye while attempting to intercept a pass.

That immediately caused the eye to be swollen shut. It was later determined that the injury was a left eyelid laceration.

Cleveland eventually lost the road game against the Raptors by three points.

The Cavs bounced back on the road on Saturday against the Chicago Bulls without the services of Garland. Based on his Twitter activity, the young guard was watching, albeit with one eye.

With Garland absent, Cavs newcomer Donovan Mitchell stepped into the point guard role and third-year wing Isaac Okoro was plugged into the starting lineup. Mitchell played well, nearly posting a triple-double with 32 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

The bench players also stepped up as they combined for 56 points, led by 15 points apiece from veterans Kevin Love and Cedi Osman.

Cleveland fans were likely hoping to see Garland back on the court for the team’s home opener versus the Washington Wizards on Sunday. They will have to wait a while longer given the diagnosis of his injury.

Friday’s game will be played on the road against the Boston Celtics. If Garland is still unavailable then, his return to the court might come next Sunday when the team hosts the New York Knicks.

Hopefully, he can return to form immediately and help Cleveland gain ground in the Eastern Conference early in the season.

The Cavs are looking to gain a playoff berth this time around after missing out last season. They failed to qualify for the playoffs after losing two consecutive games in the play-in tournament.

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Orel is a freelance writer who is passionate about the NBA. He has followed the league since the late '90s and found increased interest in it in 2003 – when an 18-year-old prodigy from Akron, Ohio took the league by storm.