Independence, Ohio – Cleveland Cavaliers some Good news on the injury front ahead of their showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks, as All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell trained on Tuesday.
Mitchell, who was ruled out of Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves due to an ankle strain suffered late Friday night, is officially listed as questionable — though sources tell cleveland.com he’s expected to play against the Bucks. Before making an official decision, the Cavs want to see how Mitchell’s ankle responds to not only the increased activity on Tuesday but possibly to the shooting scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Fiserv Forum as well.
While Mitchell returned to practice, All-Star player Garrett Allen and forward Dean Wade were unable to participate.
Allen was eliminated. Wade is questionable.
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Multiple sources said Allen, who has been experiencing ankle pain for about a week, also has a non-COVID-related illness and did not accompany the team to Milwaukee. This would be the second consecutive game Allen missed.
Wade’s sore knee, which broke during Cleveland’s last five-game drive, will also likely prevent him from playing against the Bucks. This will be Wadi’s third absence in a row.
Cleveland has lost four straight games and is currently fourth in the Eastern Conference. Led by perennial MVP nominee Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are 10-3 this season, having lost twice in a row. This will be the first meeting between the two contenders in the Eastern Conference.
“I think the game with Giannis is the start and he’s kind of driving it,” Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff said when asked about the challenge of playing Milwaukee. “His ability to attack, play a full field, tackle the ball, handle the ball in catches and rolls, put screens in catches and rolls, and then the spacing they put around him. If we do things right, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
With both Allen and Wade out on Sunday, Bickerstaff has shuffled his rotation, inserting the underused Lamar Stephens into the starting lineup – and he can think about that again on Wednesday.
“Every year he finds his way on the floor,” Bickerstaff said of the hard-nosed Stevens. “He deserves the chance. It’s early and we’re still trying to figure out line-ups and rotations and that sort of thing. Injuries play a role, but he’s a rotation player, and I have to think of a way to get him down to the ground.”
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