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David Nwaba listed as questionable for Saturday’s game

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A key play may return against the Mavericks.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson. But the Cavs may get a key player back on Saturday against the Mavericks.

At the team’s shootaround, head coach Larry Drew said that forward David Nwaba, who has missed the last 18 games due to an ankle sprain, is listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Would Nwaba play, it would be unclear if he would be on a minutes restriction or what his role would be. Prior to his injury, he had been a starter.

Getting Nwaba back would be huge for the Cavs. He’s by far the team’s best on-ball defender, and having him back would allow Alec Burks and Cedi Osman to defend different players instead of the opposing team’s best wing or starting power forward. Osman may benefit the most, as he has defended players much stronger than him with Nwaba out — something Drew recently called “unfair.”

Opposing team’s ignore Nwaba on offense for the most part, but considering how bad the Cavs’ defense is, playing him should be a no brainer for Drew. Even when Love and Thompson are back, and Drew may need to play more two-big lineups, Nwaba should be a mainstay in the rotation.

For the year, Nwaba is is averaging six points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He’s only played in 21 games due to injury and because he started the season out of the rotation.