Donovan Mitchell on cusp of making Cavs return after latest update

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

According to Chris Fedor of, Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell could make his return to the lineup sometime during the Cavaliers’ upcoming road trip.

“Sources tell he’s not expected to play Monday night in Cleveland’s showdown against the Western Conference’s sixth-seeded Phoenix Suns — the second game of a back-to-back,” Fedor wrote. “However, there is growing optimism Mitchell could make his highly anticipated return at some point on the team’s upcoming three-game road trip to New Orleans, Houston and Indiana.

“With his knee responding well to this latest form of treatment, Mitchell has been cleared to resume on-court work. He took part in a light workout for the first time on Thursday and has increased his activity even more since. On Sunday morning, following the team’s shootaround, Mitchell was going through an extensive shooting workout alongside his personal trainer and a few of the team’s assistant coaches. Mitchell was also taking light contact while simulating dribble-drives and off-balance finishes.”

Mitchell hasn’t taken the floor for the Cavaliers in the month of March. His most recent appearance came in a loss to the Chicago Bulls back on Feb. 28, when he totaled 19 points, five rebounds and three assists while shooting 5-of-13 from the field and 4-of-9 from 3-point range.

Cleveland owns a mediocre 3-3 record since Mitchell has been sidelined. During that span, the Cavaliers have earned victories over the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. But Cleveland has also lost to the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets.

Most recently, the Cavaliers suffered a 19-point home loss to Mikal Bridges and the Nets on Sunday. The Nets sit as the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference standings with a 26-39 record and own a 5-5 record over their last 10 contests.

Before beating Cleveland, the Nets were riding a two-game losing streak after dropping a pair of games to a couple of the worst teams in the NBA in the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets. The former holds the worst record in the league at 10-53, while the latter has won just 16 games since the start of the 2023-24 regular season.

After Cleveland’s loss to the Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks’ win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, the Cavaliers dropped to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. But the Cavaliers have a comfortable lead over the conference’s No. 4 seed in the standings — the New York Knicks — who are four games back of Cleveland with a 37-27 record.

The Cavaliers won’t have much time to mull over their loss to the Nets, as they are set to take on the Suns at home on Monday night. The Suns are a few days removed from a loss to the Celtics on March 9.

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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.