On December 18, 2023, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that power forward Evan Mobley and guard Darius Garland would be missing several weeks of action due to injuries. Mobley, who has been playing 15 games in the current season, will undergo arthroscopic surgery to address a left knee injury. Meanwhile, Garland, who started 22 games, is facing a four-week evaluation for a fractured jaw.
Mobley, who has been averaging 16.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, was the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The team is hoping to have him back in time for the All-Star Break in February. The absence of Mobley will put more pressure on forwards Dean Wade and Georges Niang to step up in the rotation.
On the other hand, the loss of Garland, who has been averaging 20.7 points and 5.9 assists per game, will require the Cavs to rely on Max Strus, Caris LeVert, and Sam Merrill to fill in at shooting guard. Additionally, there have been trade rumors surrounding point guard Donovan “Spida” Mitchell, who may be on the move if the Cavs fall out of playoff contention without Garland and Mobley.
The injuries to the two starters will also impact the NBA futures market. The Cavs’ odds to win the 2023-24 NBA Championship have shifted from +3500 to +4500, and they are now the fifth team on DraftKings’ futures board at +1600 odds to win the Eastern Conference.
Despite the setbacks, the Cavs are set to face the Houston Rockets on Monday night. The Rockets, with a 15-6-2 record against the point spread, are currently the second-best betting team in the NBA this season, whereas the Cavs have an 11-13-2 ATS record. As a result, there will be significant pressure on the remaining players to deliver in the absence of Mobley and Garland.