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David Nwaba returns vs. Mavs, Larry Drew doesn’t think Kevin Love will play Tuesday

Drew spoke before the Cavs hosted the Mavs on Saturday.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

David Nwaba will play Saturday as the Cavs face the Magic.

During his pregame media availability, head coach Larry Drew said that Nwaba will play, but will have his minutes monitored. Nwaba has missed 18 consecutive game after spraining his ankle on Dec. 23 against the Bulls.

Drew said it was possible that Nwaba could return to the starting lineup once he gets back to his “normal self.”

“I really did [like him starting],” Drew said. “I mean, if he gets back to his normal self, it’s something I want to take a look at because prior to being hurt, we had a really good rhythm with him in the starting lineup. There’s some thing we can do from a versatility standpoint of having him in there at the four spot. He gives us that lockdown defender. As I’ve said before, he’s a guy that does all of the little things. You need guys like that on your team. You need guys like that in your lineup. So, that’s a possibility — getting him back into the start lineup. But he’s gotta get back to where he’s at top speed again.”

Getting Nwaba back helps the Cavs on defense more than anything, as he is their best on-ball defender. In 21 games this season, he’s averaging six points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

Drew also updated Kevin Love’s status. Love, who has played in four games this season due to a foot injury, practiced this week. But he remains out Saturday against Dallas, and according to Drew, he doesn’t think Love will play on Tuesday against the Celtics based on what he currently knows.

“At this particular point, I do not [think he will play Tuesday],” Drew said. “Until I hear from medical and from Kevin which game he will be coming back, I’m just going to move forward and approach each game not knowing when he’ll be back. But again, he’s been participating in practice, he’s gone through contact in practice and he’s done extremely well. We’ll just keep taking it day-by-day until we get the all clear sign.”

Love last played on Oct. 24 against the Nets. He was hurt in the team’s preseason opener against the Celtics earlier that month and had surgery on Nov. 2 to address the injury.