Cavs hit with major Donovan Mitchell injury blow in Game 4 vs. Celtics

Tony Nguyen | Boston Celtics
May 14, 2024

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in real trouble. They are trailing the Boston Celtics 2-1 in their series, and now head to Game 4, they will be missing the services of their best player in Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell has been ruled out for Game 4 on Monday due to a left calf strain, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He was initially listed as questionable due to the injury, and fears about his potential absence heightened when he was not seen during the team’s shootaround that was available to the media.

While Mitchell watched film and underwent treatment, it’s now clear that he’s simply not healthy enough to play.

“ESPN Sources: Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell — who’s averaging nearly 30 points in playoffs — will miss Game 4 vs. the Boston Celtics tonight with a left calf strain. Huge loss for Cavs in a telltale home game down 2-1 in series,” Woj wrote in his report.

The bigger problem for the Cavs is that it’s not only Donovan Mitchell who is out. Big man Jarrett Allen, who was definitely their best player in their Round 1 showdown against the Orlando Magic, remains out as well as he continues to recover from his rib injury. Allen has yet to play in the series against the Celtics.

Donovan Mitchell’s absence hurts Cavs vs. Celtics

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) reacts after a basket during the second half against the Orlando Magic in game seven of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Sure enough, losing your best player in a crucial playoff game is not ideal. It would have been acceptable for the Cavs had they been ahead of the Celtics in the series or at least tied. But Boston is currently leading 2-1, and the Beantown Team now has a legitimate chance to make it a two-game lead and potentially set a closeout battle in Game 5.

Mitchell averaged 26.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.4 steaks per game during the 2023-24 season. He shot 46.2 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from deep, fueling the Cavs to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference.

In the 2024 Playoffs, Donovan Mitchell is putting up 29.6 points on top of 5.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.3 steals. He’s actually doing more against the Celtics in the absence of Jarrett Allen, as he has averaged 31.7 points, 6.3 boards and 5.3 assists in the three games they have played.

Hopefully Mitchell’s injury is not long-term and that he will be able to return in Game 5. After all, his absence could really spell the end of the Cavs in the 2024 playoffs.

In the meantime, with the absences of Mitchell and Allen, the Cavs will have to rely on Darius Garland to carry the scoring load. The team will also need Evan Mobley to step up on offense while anchoring the Cleveland defense in order for them to have a shot at winning and tying the series.

Cleveland also needs its homecourt advantage now more than ever. If the crowd at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse can make the environment as hostile and distracting as it can be for Boston, it will go a long way in helping the Cavs survive their upcoming battle. The Celtics are relatively healthy, with Kristaps Porzingis the only player sidelined. Having said that, the Cavs really need all the help they can get.