J.B. Bickerstaff offers optimistic injury updates ahead of Cavs-Thunder matchup

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been bitten by the injury bug as hard as any team in the NBA so far this season.

Big man Jarrett Allen has already missed five games for the team. Point guard Darius Garland has missed four, and Donovan Mitchell has missed one.

But the Cavaliers practically have a clean bill of health right now. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff shared on Tuesday that only Sam Merrill did not participate in practice with the team.

Interestingly, the Cavaliers have fared better on the road than they have at home thus far this season. The team owns a 2-1 road record and poor 1-3 home record.

Cleveland picked up its first home win of the season against a very formidable opponent in Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 5. The Cavaliers’ entire starting lineup played well in the win, seeing as how no starter scored less than 12 points for the team.

But great offensive performances from Garland and Mitchell propelled the Cavaliers to a win. Garland scored 24 points and had seven assists, while Mitchell scored 31 points and also dished out seven assists.

Mitchell has picked up right where he left off after an excellent 2022-23 regular season, as he is averaging 32.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game across six appearances with the Cavaliers this season.

Cleveland’s three home losses this season have come against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. Arguably the team’s worst loss of the three was against the Knicks — who eliminated the Cavaliers in the first round of the 2023 playoffs — on Oct. 31.

Granted, the Cavaliers were missing Allen and Garland against New York. But they still lost in embarrassing fashion, as New York beat them by 18 points.

The Cavaliers will have a chance to improve upon their 2-1 road record when they take on the Thunder on Wednesday. Like the Cavaliers, the Thunder haven’t fared well at home this season, considering they own a 2-3 home record.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.