Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen will indeed return to face the Hawks in the East play-in tournament finale on Friday, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Allen has been out since March 6, when he suffered a broken finger, and intends to play barring any setbacks prior to tipoff. He is still experiencing “significant” pain in the finger, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
“We haven’t ruled anybody out,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said prior to the release of the official injury report Thursday. “Haven’t ruled him in either.”
Meanwhile, coach Nate McMillan said the Hawks are preparing for the game as if Allen will play. “He said even if he doesn’t play, the Cavs’ size still presents a challenge for Atlanta,” relayed Chris Kirchner of The Athletic.
Whoever wins the play-in game between the Cavs and Hawks will be the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. The loser will be eliminated from the postseason.
Either will face the top-seeded Heat in the first round, with Game 1 slated for Easter Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.
Allen, 23, is coming off his first All-Star appearance and averaging 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds in 56 games. His biggest impact is on the defensive end, anchoring the Cavs’ triple tower frontcourt that also includes Rookie of the Year candidate Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen.
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