INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley won't make his 2022 debut with his teammates on Wednesday night in Philadelphia during the first preseason game against the 76ers. In fact, he won't play for the next week or two after injuring his ankle during practice. But the good news is that right now, at least, the Cavs aren't concerned that Mobley will have to miss any regular season time with the injury.
Mobley sprained his ankle Saturday as the team was running live 5-on-5 drills in practice, according to head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. Mobley went up to finish at the hoop and when he came down, he landed on a teammate's foot, causing him to sprain his ankle.
The injury comes at a frustrating time as Mobley was excited to get back on the court for the preseason tip-off, but Bickerstaff said that he's taking it in stride and has remained the even-keeled guy they've come to know and love.
“I mean, he's obviously frustrated, but in Evan fashion, he's fine, you know what I mean? He doesn't do the emotional roller coaster. He got hurt. Now he knows what he has to do to get better," Bickerstaff said.
Mobley's teammate Donovan Mitchell was sad to see Mobley sidelined for any amount of time, but is still excited to get a closer look at the forward when he's healthy now that they're new teammates.
“Obviously it sucks not having him out there. But he'll be good and ready to go. And for him, he's got a long, long career in this league. And he's a talented kid so just to be able to part of that, part of his journey and to be able to help, myself being able to help, I’m excited," Mitchell said.
As for the rest of the team, they're also hoping Mobley makes a quick return, but some of the guys who typically get fewer minutes will see themselves with a chance to impress the team to see what they've got while Mobley's held off the court.
"Obviously we would love to have him because we understand that he's going to be a big focal point of what we're doing. And a lot of the lineups kind of revolves around him. But it gives other people an opportunity to play different spots, you know, and get more minutes and more reps and allows us to get more things on film that we can kind of dissect," Bickerstaff said.
But while Mobley will miss the preseason, right now the team does expect him back by the start of the regular season. That's not a promise as they aim to be smart about the injury, but Bickerstaff and his team are hopeful for that outcome.
"We see how he responds to all that and we'll always be safe with our guys but right now there isn't a concern that he'll miss the start of the regular season," Bickerstaff said.
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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