The Cavaliers are having a tough time with the injury bug early on in the season.
On Nov. 8, the team announced that starting shooting guard Collin Sexton would be out indefinitely with a left meniscus tear. Just eight days later, the Cavaliers announced they will be without their star rookie Evan Mobley, who will be sidelined for a few weeks due to a right elbow sprain.
When did the star rookie suffer the injury, how long is he expected to be out and how does this impact the Rookie of the Year race?
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How long will Evan Mobley be out?
According to the Cavaliers, Mobley will be out for “two-to-four weeks” as he rehabs a sprained right elbow.
Mobley left Cleveland’s loss to the Celtics on Monday, Nov. 15 in the third quarter. The No. 3 overall pick looked off the entire night, scoring just one point while shooting 0-for-11 from the field, and he never returned once he went to the locker room.
This comes as a crushing blow to an already shorthanded Cavaliers team, as other bigs such as Jarrett Allen (non-COVID illness), Kevin Love (health and safety protocols) and Lauri Markkanen (health and safety protocols) have all been out recently. While it looks like Love could be the first to return as soon as Wednesday, Nov. 15 versus the Nets, Allen and Markkanen are still sidelined for the time being.
Cleveland will need its reserves to fill the holes of its depleted frontcourt, with Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade and Tacko Fall all in line to take on larger roles in place of the key absences.
How will Evan Mobley’s injury impact the Rookie of the Year race?
Mobley has played up to his No. 3 overall selection to this point in the season, averaging 14.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the field. According to NBA Stats, when the star rookie is on the floor, the Cavaliers boast what would be the second-best defensive rating in the NBA in holding opponents to 99.6 points per 100 possessions, trailing only the Warriors.
Mobley has started in all 15 games he has played in, building a strong case for Rookie of the Year, jockeying for the top spot with Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes, among others, early on.
If Mobley were to land on the shorter side of his injury timeline, he would miss approximately six games, which would hardly impact his award chances. If he ends up on the longer side of his injury timeline, Mobley could miss up to approximately 14 games, which could set him back a bit in the Rookie of the Year race.
With Barnes showing no signs of slowing down and other factors like No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham beginning to find his groove, Mobley might feel some pressure to pick up right where he left off to stay in the conversation. However, if he does continue to perform at the same level prior to his injury, an approximate 14-game absence may not impact his award chances that much.
Remember, LaMelo Ball still took home Rookie of the Year last season and he missed 21 games due to an ankle injury during a crucial part of the season.