Cavs dealt worrisome injury blow that could cost them the No. 2 seed

It'll be tough for the Cavaliers to hold onto the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with Donovan Mitchell's injury update.

Feb 27, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) stands on the
Feb 27, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) stands on the / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to be among the best teams in the Eastern Conference this season but were dealt a couple of major blows with early-season injuries to two of their best players, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.

Despite those two players being out for substantial amounts of time, the Cavaliers have hung around the top of the Eastern Conference thanks in large part to Donovan Mitchell, who has played like a superstar for much of the regular season.

The 27-year-old is averaging 28.0 points per game on 47.2/37.1/86.1 splits to go along with career highs of 5.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game.

With Mitchell playing arguably the best basketball of his career, the Cavaliers enter Monday in third place in the East with a 39-21 record. Mitchell has played in 47 of Cleveland's 60 games with the Cavs going 32-15 in those contests. They're just 7-6 in games he's missed, including a frustrating loss at home against an undermanned Knicks team. From the looks of things, they're going to have to prepare for more time without their star.

Donovan Mitchell injury update could cost the Cavaliers the No. 2 seed

Mitchell missed Sunday's game with a knee injury and is now set to miss at least the next three games with two of the three coming against a pair of the NBA's best teams in Boston and Minnesota. With Mitchell only being re-evaluated over the weekend, it's very possible that he's going to miss even more than Cleveland's next three games, which could spell trouble.

As of now, the Cavs are only 0.5 games back of the No. 2 seed Bucks. With how inconsistent Milwaukee has been this season, that spot was certainly in reach for this Cavs team at full strength. However, with Mitchell set to miss time, they could fall behind in the race for that spot.

They're fortunate to have a 3.5-game cushion over the fourth seed, the Knicks, but we just saw an undermanned Knicks team come into Cleveland and get a win in their first game without Mitchell. They've created some wiggle room which helps, but if they start to lose a couple in a row they can see that lead disappear in a hurry.

For Cleveland's sake, let's hope he won't miss many more than the next three games. They can ill afford to be without their best player for much longer.

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