J.B. Bickerstaff offers slightly discouraging update on Darius Garland

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Darius Garland reportedly will not travel with the Cleveland Cavaliers on their upcoming road trip, a somewhat discouraging update for the guard who has not played in more than a month because of a fractured jaw.

The 23-year-old was injured Dec. 14 in a loss to the Boston Celtics and has been sidelined since then. He reportedly has resumed basketball activities and is targeting a return by the end of the month. The Cavs’ upcoming four-game road trip ends Jan. 26.

Garland is averaging 20.7 points, 5.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game in his 20 appearances this season, numbers that are slightly down from previous seasons.

The Cavaliers also remain without Evan Mobley, who is recovering from knee surgery. The 22-year-old has not played since Dec. 6 but reportedly remains on track to return in his six-to-eight week timetable for recovery.

Despite not having those two starters for an extended period of time, the Cavs are finding success. They are taking a six-game winning streak into their game at the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. That begins the trip which includes a stop at the Orlando Magic before two games at the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Cavs are coming off a 40-point win against the Bucks on Wednesday that wrapped up a perfect six-game home stand. After a recent hot streak of 11 wins in their past 14 games, Cleveland has a 24-15 record and sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference entering NBA play on Friday.

The excellent stretch without two of their best players may have allowed the Cavs the room to not rush them back. It also may have helped to convince management to ride out this season with Donovan Mitchell rather than looking to trade the All-Star. The 27-year-old remains the subject of rumors because he has not yet agreed to a contract extension, but the Cavs are steadfast in their intention to keep him.

The Cavs are looking to get back into the playoffs and fare better than they did last season, when they were knocked out in the first round by the New York Knicks. Having Garland and Mobley back in the lineup — whenever they are able to return — will certainly help that cause.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.