J.B. Bickerstaff provides dubious update on Darius Garland

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Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff provided an update on the status of All-Star point guard Darius Garland, who has been out of the lineup after suffering an eye injury in the team’s season opener.

Garland was knocked out early in the Cavs’ loss to the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 19, and he’s remained out of the lineup ever since. Bickerstaff isn’t sure if Garland will be able to return to the lineup for the team’s matchup with the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Even though they’ve been without Garland, the Cavs have played well to open the 2022-23 campaign, winning three straight games heading into Friday’s matchup with the Boston Celtics.

Guard Donovan Mitchell has taken on a lot of the playmaking role that Garland usually has, as he is averaging 7.3 assists per game through the team’s first four contests.

Swingman Caris LeVert (6.3 assists per game) has also been an integral piece in the playmaking department for Cleveland.

With guard Ricky Rubio still recovering from a torn ACL, Raul Neto is the only other point guard that has really seen minutes for the Cavs this season. Neto is playing 10.8 minutes per game while averaging 4.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist.

Garland’s absence has allowed forward Cedi Osman to step up offensively, and Bickerstaff praised the veteran for his hot start to the 2022-23 season.

Osman is shooting an impressive 47.4 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 15.5 points per game for Cleveland.

There’s no doubt that the Cavs would love to have Garland back, especially after his breakout season in the 2021-22 campaign, but it appears that the team doesn’t want to rush him back if he is still affected by the eye injury.

Even if Garland wears the protective goggles during a game, the team doesn’t want to risk him being on the floor if he’s dealing with excessive swelling.

If Garland is unable to return Sunday against the Knicks, his next chance to play in a game for Cleveland would come on Wednesday, Nov. 2 against Boston.

It may make sense for the Cavs to hold him out until that matchup, as he’d get two more days of rest than he would if he played in Sunday’s matchup.

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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.