The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the best surprises in the NBA to start the season, as the young Cavs have darted out to a 9-6 start thanks in large part to some stellar defense. Leading the way on that end is their frontcourt featuring Jarrett Allen and rookie Evan Mobley, the latter of whom has already shown his considerable skills and versatility as a defensive anchor.
Unfortunately for the Cavs, the injury bug has started to bite and, after already seeing Collin Sexton suffer a torn meniscus, Mobley now is headed for an extended absence. The young big man suffered an injury to his right elbow in Monday night’s loss to the Celtics and an MRI revealed an elbow strain that the team says will keep him out for 2-4 weeks.
It is a significant blow for a team that’s already shorthanded, although they should get Lauri Markkanen back from the COVID list soon which would be a welcome sight. Still, replacing Mobley’s presence on the defensive end won’t be easy for the Cavs, as he and Allen have allowed them to keep a shot blocker on the floor most all of the time and his ability to switch and move on the perimeter makes him a tremendous deterrent on pick-and-roll coverage. With a brutal stretch of schedule coming over the next two weeks featuring the Warriors, Nets (twice), Suns, Mavs, Heat, Jazz, Bucks, and Bulls coming up, getting through that with a record still around .500 without Mobley would have to feel like a success for the Cavs.