If all goes to plan, Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen will return before the end of the regular season.
According to a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Allen has elected not to have surgery on his fractured left middle finger and there is “optimism” that the All-Star big man will play in one of Cleveland’s final 12 regular season games. Also per Haynes, a return date is to-be-determined as Allen’s finger is still dealing with swelling.
Allen hurt his finger on March 6 during the first quarter of a Cavaliers win against the Toronto Raptors. Since then, Cleveland is 2-2 with wins over the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Clippers and losses to the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.
If he’s healthy and able to play, the Cavs could certainly use Allen. The team currently sits in sixth in the Eastern Conference, but find themselves only a game up on the seventh-seed Raptors and four games up on the eighth-place Brooklyn Nets. For Cleveland to hold onto the sixth seed — and thus avoid the play-in tournament — it’ll need to be able to withstand late-season pushes from those two teams in particular. That includes games against elite centers like Joel Embiid twice and Nikola Jokic, where Allen’s absence will especially be felt. Cleveland also plays the Raptors once more before the season ends.
For the year, Allen is averaging 16.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.