Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt spoke to the media on Thursday about Iman Shumpert‘s groin injury, and Blatt said the injury is progressing and that he’s hopeful Shumpert will be able to give it a go in Game 3 on Friday night, according to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald.
Blatt admitted there’s a chance Shumpert misses Game 3, which would be a tough blow to the Cavaliers, even with J.R. Smith coming back from suspension. Shumpert played extremely well in Smith’s absence in Games 1 and 2, averaging 18.5 points while shooting 8-of-17 from long range. Shumpert suffered the groin injury in Game 2, but he returned to the game after some time in the locker room.
Shumpert’s strong play against the Bulls came after a solid performance in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics. The 24-year-old notched a double-double in that game, tallying 15 points and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes. That came after he managed just 13 points and 12 rebounds in the first three games of the series combined.
Shumpert was rather hit-or-miss all year with the Cavaliers after coming over in a trade from the New York Knicks. The guard averaged 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 41.0 percent overall and 33.8 percent from three in 38 games in Cleveland.
However, the Shumpert we’ve seen in the last three games has been a huge boost for Cleveland. The Cavaliers need all the extra scoring they can get with Kevin Love out, and if Shumpert can keep this up, Cleveland becomes more dangerous.
If Shumpert does play in Game 3, it’s unclear if he’ll stay in the starting lineup with Smith coming back. Blatt will likely want to stick with the frontcourt combo of Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson, and Smith typically starts.