Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley was off to such a terrific start this season that other NBA coaches were reportedly telling JB Bickerstaff that they were jealous they didn’t get to coach the talented big man. On Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics, however, Mobley was reminded that things aren’t always going to be so easy in this league.
Although he still finished with nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks, he struggled to get anything going on the offensive end and was held to one point on 0 of 11 from the field. To make things worse, he suffered an elbow sprain in the fourth quarter and will need to get an MRI on Tuesday, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
It’s difficult to tell exactly what happened from the broadcast angle, but late in the third quarter Mobley was trying to defend a pick-and-roll and swung his arm around to try and deflect a pass from Marcus Smart. His effort helped force a turnover, but after the ball went out of bounds he clutched at his elbow and doubled over, seemingly in pain.
Mobley initially stayed in the game but checked out with 11:04 left in the fourth quarter and did not return. At this point it’s too early to say whether Mobley has suffered a significant injury. Bickerstaff did not provide an update after the game, saying he had not yet had a conversation with the medical staff.
Everyone in Cleveland and across the league will be hoping this is a minor issue that does not keep Mobley sidelined for long. The big man has been so much fun to watch and is already drawing comparisons to players such as Kevin Garnett and Anthony Davis because of his skill, athleticism and defensive prowess. Even with his rough game against the Celtics, he’s still averaging 14.6 points, eight rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, and is displaying poise well beyond his years.
Thanks in large part to his presence, the Cavs have gotten off to a great start and sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 9-6. It would be a real shame if they get sidetracked because of a Mobley injury.