Cleveland Cavaliers center Evan Mobley has not yet ascended to the elite tier of big men, but make no mistake, he is a vital inside presence on both ends of the floor for this team. Although the Cavs are already realizing how rigorous NBA life can be without him, it could get significantly worse following his latest injury update.

Mobley requires arthroscopic knee surgery, which will sideline him for six-to-eight weeks. This terrible news is only compounded by the lengthy absence of fellow starter Darius Garland, who will undergo surgery for a fractured jaw. When it rains, it pours, especially in Cleveland.

Star guard and team leader Donovan Mitchell explained how important the 22-year-old is to the team, while also revealing the Cavs’ best course of action moving forward without Mobley and Garland.

“Man, what he brings to our group, we’ve seen it with his absence through this stretch,” he told sideline reporter Serena Winters. “Talked to both of those guys, tell them to keep their heads locked in…biggest thing for us is just to do it together.”

Evan Mobley is scoring 16 points, grabbing a career-high 10.5 rebounds and swatting 1.7 blocks per game in 2023. His elite defense, which earned him All-NBA First-Team honors last season, is going to be missed above all his attributes. The 13-12 Cavs are on a three-game losing skid and must quickly find their footing without two of their pillars, starting Saturday versus the Atlanta Hawks (10-14).

Mitchell expects players like All-Star Jarrett Allen, Georges Niang and Dean Wade to compensate for Mobley’s absence in the low post area. Fans better hope they are up to the task, or this will devolve into a complete free-fall.