Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley probable to return Saturday from elbow injury

Marla Ridenour
Akron Beacon Journal
Cleveland Cavaliers' Evan Mobley (4) dunks the ball against the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 91-89. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cavaliers center/forward Evan Mobley appears ready to beat the two-to-four-week timeline given when the league’s leading Rookie of the Year candidate sprained his right elbow on Nov. 15.

Mobley was listed as probable for Saturday night’s game against the Orlando Magic (4-15) at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse after missing four games over a span of 11 days.

The third overall pick out of the University of Southern California, Mobley was hurt at home against the Boston Celtics when he got tangled up with the Celtics' Enes Kanter battling for a rebound.

"It happens a lot, guys get tangled up," Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said at practice on Nov. 16. "I don't even want to bring it up, but it wasn't a dirty play. It wasn't anything like that. It was two guys playing basketball. That's why I called it kind of a freak or fluke thing."

Starting that night, the Cavs (9-10) have lost five consecutive games. Mobley's injury came on the heels of guard Collin Sexton suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee in a road game against the New York Knicks on Nov. 7. Sexton underwent season-ending surgery on Nov. 17.

In 15 games (all starts) for the Cavs, Mobley has averaged 14.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 blocked shots in 33.7 minutes while shooting .494 from the field.

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At Detroit on Nov. 12, Mobley reached 100 rebounds, the first Cavs rookie to hit that mark in 13 or fewer games since Brad Daugherty (12th game in 1986-87) and John “Hot Rod” Williams (13th game in 1986-87).

On Nov. 7 at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, Mobley posted career-highs with 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting. He became the first Cavs rookie to score 26 or more points with nine-plus rebounds, five-plus assists, and a .733 field goal percentage. The last in the league to do it was Blake Griffin on April 6, 2011.