Jarrett Allen takes major step in journey to return back to court for Cavs

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen took a major step to get back on the floor for the Cavs after sustaining an eye injury against the Miami Heat on March 10.

Allen participated in everything the team did at practice on Monday, and he will make the trip with the team to Brooklyn for its next game.

This is great news for Cleveland, as Allen has missed the team’s last four games. Prior to injuring his eye, Allen had been extremely durable for the Cavs so far this season. He had missed just seven games prior to this four-game absence.

An All-Star last season, Allen has quickly become one of the better big men in the NBA during his time with the Cavs. The Cavs rely on Allen (1.2 blocks per game in the 2022-23 campaign) to anchor their elite defense.

This season, the former first-round pick is averaging 14.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 64.9 percent from the field. He and Evan Mobley are two great shot-blockers, but they are also extremely mobile defenders, which helps the team in pick-and-roll action.

With Allen out, the Cavs have used Mobley more at the center position with Robin Lopez, Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens all getting work in the frontcourt as well.

Cleveland has two straight road games against the Brooklyn Nets coming up, one on Tuesday night and the other on Thursday night. Allen, who was traded by the Nets to Cleveland, could return for at least one of those games now that he’s traveling with the team.

Getting Allen back for the home stretch of the 2022-23 season would be huge for the Cavs and their playoff seeding. Cleveland is currently the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, sitting 2.5 games ahead of the New York Knicks.

Cleveland has a matchup with New York on Friday, March 31, so the team would love to have a solid cushion over the Knicks by then. If all goes well, Allen should be back in the lineup for that game in Cleveland.

The Cavs and Nets are scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

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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.