April 19, 2024

After coming up short in the closing moments of a 120-113 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers are back at it on the parquet once again Thursday night in Bean Town. Unfortunately, the Cavs will still be without a few key faces versus the Celtics, with Emoni Bates (NBA G League Assignment), Ty Jerome (ankle), Evan Mobley (knee) and Ricky Rubio (personal) all unavailable to suit up for Cleveland.

As always, Rubio’s absence shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cleveland is giving Rubio as much time as possible to prioritize and focus on his mental wellbeing. Jerome, meanwhile, hasn’t played since Cleveland’s home-opening loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and there’s no sign when he’ll return to the floor. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently told ClutchPoints the team is trying alternative recovery methods.

Jerome was recently spotted working on an exercise bike as the team wrapped up practice. Again, there is still no proper update on Jerome’s availability, but hopefully, the three-point specialist can get back on the court sooner rather than later.

Evan Mobley out for Cavs’ rematch with Celtics

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The biggest blow for the Cavs is not having Mobley on the floor in Boston once again. Mobley is still sidelined with the knee injury that kept him out of Cleveland’s last three games, a win over the Miami Heat and losses to the Orlando Magic and Celtics. Mobley has played in 21 games so far this season and is averaging 16.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.7 blocks per contest while shooting 57.3% from the field.

This will be the fourth game in a row and the fourth game overall Mobley will miss for the Cavs this season. Dean Wade should slide into the starting lineup as the team’s power forward. Georges Niang and Tristan Thompson will likely also see a few extra minutes, with Thompson playing the center minutes whenever Allen rests on the bench.

Evan Mobley showcased his burgeoning two-way ability in the Cavs' preseason finale

Without Mobley, the Cavs change completely on defense and could be exploited if All-Star center Jarrett Allen gets overwhelmed with manning the middle by himself. Thankfully, they were fine in Miami without Mobley, but every game is totally different and could set the tone for Cleveland on defense. He was sorely missed in Orlando and when Boston roared back and kept their undefeated home winning streak alive on Tuesday.

Thankfully, once the Cavs wrap up this tilt in Boston, they get to return home, rest and recover before hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. There should be an update on Mobley’s availability against Atlanta in that small, three-day window. But according to several sources, it wouldn’t be shocking if Mobley continues to miss time since the team always errs on the side of caution regarding a player’s health.

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