CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without three members of their usual rotation, including a pair of starters, for Sunday’s night’s matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sources tell cleveland.com that Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen and Dean Wade — all three listed as questionable going into the game — will not play.
With Mitchell and Allen unavailable, Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff will be forced to shuffle his starting lineup once again. According to sources, little-used Lamar Stevens and usual sixth man Kevin Love will move into the starting group, with Evan Mobley shifting to center and Caris LeVert going back to his natural shooting guard spot.
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Mitchell, who was supposed to play his first game against old Utah teammate Rudy Gobert on Sunday, suffered an ankle strain during Friday’s 106-101 loss to the Golden State Warriors, landing awkwardly late in the game. He was seen limping around the locker room afterward.
Allen has been dealing with a sore ankle for a few games. While the Cavs have been managing his minutes and workload at various points and Allen has been playing through the pain, the team felt it was best to get him some extended rest with a few days off before traveling to Milwaukee for a highly anticipated Eastern Conference showdown against one of the league’s title favorites on Wednesday night.
Wade was discussing some knee discomfort with the training staff following Friday morning’s shootaround in the Bay Area. Wade told cleveland.com it’s unrelated to the meniscus injury he sustained at the end of last season. However, sources say the early indication is that Wade could have knee bursitis — an injury that typically has an inconsistent return-to-play timeline.
“It’s the NBA, and 82 games is a ton of games,” Bickerstaff said before the game. “That’s what is important and we keep telling everybody at some point in time, you’re gonna get your shot at it. It’s a matter of what you do and whether you take advantage of it or not. Our guys have been committed to it. In spot moments here and there, everybody’s contributed at some level.”
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