Jarrett Allen of the Cavs was eliminated in Game 7 against the Orlando Magic

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cavs will play the most consequential game in years without their starting center and defensive anchor.

Jarrett Allen was ruled out for Game 7 against the Orlando Magic on Sunday after suffering a bruised rib in Game 4 that caused him to miss the previous two meetings as well.

With Allen unavailable, Cleveland will move swingman Isaac Okoro into the starting lineup, relying on the same five-man lineup that helped the Cavs win Game 5 at home: Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Evan Mobley and Okoro. Mobley technically starts in Allen's usual center position. It's the same quintet that Cleveland opened the season with on October 25, 2023.

Sources tell that Allen was actually hit with an elbow in the box in the opening game of the series. At first it was considered a minor thing, the normal wear and tear of contact during a physical game, but Allen was able to get through it. But in the second half of Game 4, he took another sharp elbow in the same spot from Orlando swingman Franz Wagner.

If the Cavs win, they will travel to Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday. If they lose, the season is over.

Sources say Allen tried everything to get fit, but it was a pain, safety and effectiveness issue. According to sources, he finds it difficult to lift his arm and certain movements still cause pain. Allen did not complete his usual on-court workout before Game 7 on Sunday afternoon.

Before missing Game 5, Allen had played 81 straight games, including the first four of the Magic series.

A vital part of the franchise's highly touted Core 4, Allen averaged 17.0 points, second-most among the Cavaliers, 13.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 31.8 minutes in the first round of the playoffs.

The Cavs and Magic are tied in three games each. The home team has won every game so far.

Anna Harden

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