Darius Garland ‘Happy as Hell’ To Rejoin Cavs After Eye Laceration

Darius Garland took the floor for the first time in two weeks last night.

Garland didn’tmissed a beat despite doing no live work since he suffered a laceration on the inside of his eyelid in Cleveland’s season opener against the Raptors. He stepped on the court ready to go and recorded the highest-scoring opening quarter of his career with 14 points on 3-3 shooting from three. 

Garland admitted he was “super scared,” per The Athletic when his injury first happened. 

“I rolled over; I felt blood coming out of my eye. So that’s when I got really nervous. And I was ready for surgery in Toronto. I was expecting that. I was expecting stitches and being out a couple of months. But by the grace of God, I’m here with two eyes now, and I’m back, and I’m healthy.”

The guard “tried to stay high” during his two weeks on the sideline, but he had his struggles.

“Just sitting over there and just have to wait and just seeing everybody get loose warming up and going through full practice and stuff, it was just kinda aggravating. I just tried to stay high. My teammates, they were winning. They was doing well, so I was happy about that. But I just wanted to be on the floor with them. I wanted to feel that energy. But I’m happy to be back now.”

Garland’s backcourt partner Donovan Mitchell doubled down on Garland’s excitement to be back.

He looked “like a little kid” during shootaround, Mitchell said.

“You could tell he was excited, just running around the gym, kinda just happy, a little bit of a different step to him. When you’re out for that long, and I’ve been there, it can kind of take a toll on you.”

Coach J.B Bickerstaff echoed Mitchell. “I mean, like you could feel it. [Garland] was excited this morning at shootaround. He was ready to contribute in a big way. And I mean, like, there was not any shyness to him. It was, I’m going out here, and I’m gonna assert myself on this game, and his teammates followed him.”

The Vanderbilt product led the Cavs to a 114-112 OT win against the Boston Celtics, finishing with 29 points, 12 assists, five rebounds, and three steals. And, of course, the Junkyard Dog Chain.

“Boy, did I,” Mitchell said about missing Garland. “He really set the tone tonight. I can’t speak for everybody else; I just didn’t know what his rhythm was going to be like after being out (two weeks). I think that’s the biggest thing. When you have your legs, when you have your energy, you’re excited, and he came out like he’s been playing with us down this whole stretch. He’s going to score the ball, and his passing, man, he’s creating, finding guys, making the game look easy, and really kind of sparked us, especially in that first half. Always under control. It’s great to have him out there.”

Now that the Cavs have Garland back, the Cleveland quartet of Mitchell, Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley can continue to build their chemistry and solidify their spot atop the Eastern Conference. The Cavs look to extend their record to 7-1 with a win against the Pistons tomorrow night.