Donovan Mitchell out for Cavaliers' must-win Game 4 due to a calf injury

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two

Donovan Mitchell has been on the bench 24 minutes in the three games against Boston, and Cleveland is -31 in those minutes with an offensive rating of 68.9.

Cleveland will be without Donovan Mitchell for a full 48 minutes in a critical Game 4 on Monday night. Mitchell is out with a strained calf, the team announced (Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the story). Cleveland is down 2-1 in the series, and if it drops Game 5 coming back against the deep, No. 1 seed Celtics would be an insurmountable task.

Mitchell's calf started bothering him in the fourth quarter of Game 3, and the team monitored the situation (he was officially questionable for Game 4). Here is what Bickerstaff said pregame, via Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid.

"He wants to play. He'll do everything in his power to play. But, like we do with all our guys, if they can't put themselves in a position to protect themselves, we won't let them play."
Mitchell has averaged 31.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists a game while shooting 53.3% from 3 in this series. Mitchell has been the primary shot creator and the focus of the Celtics defense for three games, now that spotlight will shift to Darius Garland. Caris LeVert will move into the starting lineup for Mitchell. Jarrett Allen also remains out for Cleveland.

Beyond Game 4, these playoffs were important to the Cavaliers keeping Mitchell long-term. Mitchell has one year left on his contract at $35.4 million, and this summer, the Cavaliers will put a max contract extension on the table for four years and an estimated $199 million. Will Mitchell sign it and stay in Cleveland as the centerpiece of their team? If he does not, the Cavaliers will be forced to consider trading him, and the trade buzz around Mitchell is already real.