Cavs’ Mitchell starting at New Orleans after missing seven games

NEW ORLEANS — Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell has been activated and placed in the starting lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Mitchell, averaging a team-high 28 points per game this season, has missed the Cavaliers previous seven games with a left knee bruise.

“His presence gives our guys a ton of confidence,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said before tipoff. “They know the gravity that he carries. What defenses have to do to stop him or slow him down just makes everybody else’s job easier.

“He’s one of our leaders. So, guys look to him in difficult situations or adverse environments to follow his lead,” Bickerstaff added.

The Cavaliers have lost four of the seven games Mitchell missed. In New Orleans, they were facing a Pelicans squad that came in on a four-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, Bickerstaff said Evan Mobley, who plays center and power forward, is “doing more” physically now after sitting out the previous four games with a left ankle sprain. Bickerstaff did not, however, put a timeline on Mobley’s return to the lineup.

“He’s doing light stuff on the court now, but he’s working his way back,” Bickerstaff said.

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