Fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers will love the latest updates on Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.
“Garland, the Cavs’ injured point guard who has been sidelined since Dec. 15 because of a fractured jaw that has forced an all-liquid diet, has received clearance to resume basketball-related activities,” Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor wrote.
“Over the last month, because of the nature of his injury, Garland wasn’t permitted to do any kind of physical exertion, with team doctors wanting to keep his heart rate from going up. But after having the wiring removed from his repaired jaw and being reevaluated on Monday — four weeks from when the injury occurred — Garland received the green light to start the next step in his recovery process.
“Ahead of Cleveland’s 109-91 win over the Chicago Bulls, after his other teammates vacated floor and prepared for the matchup, Garland conducted an on-court shooting workout alongside assistant coach J.J. Outlaw, hoisting a variety of movement-based jumpers and simulating off-the-dribble offensive sets. It lasted for around 20 minutes.
“Sources tell Cleveland.com that Garland will likely need at least a week to get back into playing shape after such a lengthy, restricted absence. Sources say Garland is targeting a return before the end of this month — even though Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff wouldn’t reveal a specific date, only offering that Garland continues to progress in a positive way.
“The same goes for injured forward Evan Mobley, who was ruled out for an extended period the same day Garland’s injury was announced. Mobley is currently recovering from knee surgery and like Garland, Mobley went through a conditioning workout ahead of Monday’s game. Dealing with the first significant injury of his NBA career, Mobley told Cleveland.com in the locker room Monday night that his knee is feeling better, there have been no setbacks, and he continues to increase his on-court activity in hopes of staying in line with the original 6–8-week timeline.”
Garland hasn’t played for the Cavaliers in over a month, with his most recent appearance coming in a road loss to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 14. In 36 minutes of action, he ended up with 19 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals.
Across 20 appearances with the Cavaliers in the 2023-24 regular season, the 6-foot-1 floor general is averaging 20.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 47.0 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from behind the 3-point line.
As for Mobley, he has been sidelined even longer than Garland has. The big man hasn’t seen the court since he tallied 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in a win over the Orlando Magic on Dec. 6.
Mobley has appeared in 21 games so far in his third season in the NBA and is averaging 16.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 57.3 percent from the floor.
The Cavaliers have managed to hold down the fort without two of their best players in Mobley and Garland, thanks partly to the play of star guard Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell has been playing at a very high level in recent weeks, as evidenced by the fact that he has scored 25 points or more in five of his last seven games.
In Cleveland’s most recent game against the Bulls on Monday, Mitchell starred on the offensive end of the floor. He accumulated 34 points while shooting 11-of-21 from the field and 4-of-10 from 3-point range to go along with seven assists compared to just two turnovers in 37 minutes of playing time.
The Cavaliers beat the Bulls by 18 points, which marked the team’s fifth win in a row and 23rd of the season. Cleveland currently holds the longest active winning streak of any team in the Eastern Conference, with the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in a tie for the second-longest winning streak in the conference at three games each.