Report: Franz Wagner ‘pierced’ one of Jarrett Allen’s ribs with an elbow during Game 4

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen suffered a rib injury due to an elbow from Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series, according to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon.

“Jarrett Allen, the Cavs’ center and most consistent player in the series, had a right rib ‘pierced,’ according to a team source, by an elbow from Wagner in Game 4 and couldn’t play in Game 5,” Vardon wrote.

The Cavs were able to pull off a win in Game 5 without Allen, but his status for Game 6 is in question. Allen reportedly did light work in practice on Thursday.

With Allen out, the Cavs had to change their rotation, playing with a smaller lineup than the usual frontcourt that features Allen and Evan Mobley. While it’s a different look than normal, it gives the Cavs more spacing on the floor.

“The spacing is the thing that’s different, longer rotations,” guard Donovan Mitchell said. “Jonathan Isaac, for example, he’s coming from the corner now instead of helping off (when the Cavs have Mobley and Allen on the court). … It’s a game of inches. … Having a guy like Jonathan Isaac or Wendell Carter having to come from the wing or the corner, now you’re making that pass and catching them in the middle of rotations, it just changes the game.”

Cleveland only beat Orlando by one point in Game 5, but it turned the series in its favor, taking a crucial 3-2 lead before Game 6 in Orlando on Friday night.

The Cavs have struggled in Orlando during this series, losing Games 3 and 4, which allowed the Magic to even the series at two games apiece.

If Allen can play in capacity in Game 6, it would be a major boost for the Cavs. During the regular season, Allen was one of the most consistent players for Cleveland, appearing in 77 games and averaging 16.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 63.4 percent from the field.

Without Allen in Game 5, Marcus Morris saw some more action at the forward spot while Tristan Thompson played minutes in the frontcourt as well.

Isaac Okoro earned the start in Allen’s place, and he finished Game 5 with eight points, four rebounds and two assists. Morris added a nice scoring punch off the bench, scoring 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field (2-of-5 from 3).

It’ll be interesting to see how the Cavs navigate Allen’s injury as they attempt to make a deep playoff run this season.

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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.