Second-year Cavaliers guard/forward Isaac Okoro is expected to return to game action in the nick of time.
According to coach J.B. Bickerstaff, that time will likely be Wednesday, when the Cavs play host to the Wizards.
Okoro has missed the past seven games with a hamstring issue. He has been back at practice and if all goes well, will make his return.
“Obviously we have to see how it responds,” Bickerstaff said. “He seems to be in good form, and we expect him to play (Wednesday).”
Okoro appeared in just the first four games. The Cavs have played just 11, but it feels like forever since he’s been in action. He returns to one of the league’s hottest teams, as the Cavs (7-4) have won four straight and get eight of the next nine at home.
That’s the good news. The bad? Leading scorer Collin Sexton is now out with a torn meniscus in his left knee, suffered Sunday in New York. There’s still no telling how much time he’ll miss.
Okoro’s presence can help replace the loss of Sexton, but Bickerstaff is more likely to do it by committee — especially since Okoro is expected to be worked back slowly.
Along with Okoro, the likes of Dylan Windler and Cedi Osman could see an increase in opportunity. Bickerstaff could also opt for a two-point-guard starting lineup, pairing veteran reserve with Darius Garland.
We could see any combination of the above as well. No matter how it plays out, Bickerstaff admitted there’s no easy way to replace Sexton.
“The threat that he is, games come down to getting a bucket,” Bickerstaff said. “A lot of teams switch, and you’ve got to be able to beat your man.
“Collin is one of our guys who can beat his man and force teams to make different decisions on how they want to play their coverages and things like that. The competitive nature that he plays with, how hard he competes and all those things, we’re gonna miss them for sure.”
Okoro is averaging 7.0 points and 2.8 rebounds on the season. The Cavs may hope he shoots more once he’s up to speed, given the loss of Sexton.
“I think everybody’s just got to tick up a couple notches,” Bickerstaff said. “We’re not going to expect one person to go get Collin’s 16 (points) a night.”