Positive Evan Mobley update from Cavs insider comes with slight caveat

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley reportedly is out of his walking boot, but his return to the lineup is further away than that of guard Donovan Mitchell, according to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.

It was recently reported that Mitchell is nearing a return for the Cavs after missing several games with a bone bruise in his knee.

Mobley, who injured his ankle when he landed awkwardly after a dunk against the Boston Celtics, is expected to be “out awhile.”

It’s a good sign for the Cavs that Mobley no longer needs a walking boot, but the team may not be welcoming him back into the rotation right away. This also isn’t the first injury Mobley has dealt with this season, so the Cavs may want to be careful with their young big man.

A knee injury earlier this season led to Mobley having surgery that kept him out of the lineup from Dec. 8 through Jan. 26. He came back for the Cavs on Jan. 29 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

While Cleveland certainly wants to make a push for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference (the team is currently one game back of the Milwaukee Bucks), the Cavs need Mobley healthy for the postseason more than anything.

After losing in the first round of the playoffs last season, the Cavs would love to make a deep playoff run in 2024 to prove their current core can compete for a title. Having Mobley and his impact on both ends of the floor will be crucial if the team wants to make that happen.

This season, Mobley is averaging 15.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 57.8 percent from the field. He and Jarrett Allen have formed one of the best interior defensive duos in the NBA since Mobley was drafted.

With the Cavs still expecting Mobley to miss more time, the team will likely lean on Dean Wade (who missed Monday’s game against the Phoenix Suns for personal reasons), Georges Niang and Allen in their frontcourt rotation.

Niang had a big game against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, scoring 20 points, but he was held to just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting against Phoenix.

Hopefully, the Cavs will be able to stay amongst the top teams in the East until Mobley is able to return to action. Cleveland is 17-10 in the 27 games that Mobley has missed so far in the 2023-24 campaign.

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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.