Miracles do exist indeed, and the Cleveland Cavaliers could experience one tonight if its center Jarrett Allen returns to the court — after almost a month and a half of inactivity — in the most important game of his team’s season: the final game of the Play-In of the NBA against the Atlanta Hawks for the final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference.
The 23-year-old center suffered from a fractured middle finger on his left hand on March 6, from which he has not yet recovered, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the center will try to make a comeback to help his team secure a playoff berth. Allen himself considers his return to be ”a 50-50 situation,” as the pain he is experiencing in his injured area is considerable. Prior to the news, Allen was listed as ”questionable” on the Cavaliers’ injury report.
Jarrett Allen’s Importance to the Cavaliers
If successful, it would be a key addition for the Cavs, who did not look good against the Brooklyn Nets, who won with relative ease because of Cleveland’s defensive struggles during the game. Allen has been characterized for being the defensive pillar of the team, especially when Evan Mobley accompanies him on the court. On top of that lies the fact that he was also having the best campaign of his career, averaging 16.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on 67.7% efficiency from the field through 56 games.
This would technically give head coach J.B. Bickerstaff his luxury lineup, and would take further advantage of the absences of John Collins (foot) and Lou Williams (back) for the Hawks, who also have Bogdan Bogdanovic questionable with a sprained left ankle.
Atlanta put on an offensive clinic against the Charlotte Hornets, winning the game by a score of 132-103, but there is no doubt that Cleveland is still the most capable team of advancing to the postseason, especially if they get someone as important as Jarrett Allen back. Whoever comes away with the win would face the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat, starting the series as early as Sunday, April 17.