The Dallas Mavericks survived what turned into a difficult game on Thursday night. They defeated the Detroit Pistons 115-105, but had to be saved by an incredible 42-point performance from Tim Hardaway Jr. Dallas rested Luka Doncic and Dorian Finney-Smith after the Pistons ruled out six players. The return of Kristaps Porzingis made the Mavericks favorites, but the Unicorn could not finish the game.
He had missed three straight games after spraining his ankle against the Lakers on April 22. It was a bit surprising to see KP back on the floor after missing just one week. The Mavericks star was healthy and eager to get back out there during an important stretch for the team.
Porzingis’ return was cut short because of right knee soreness. He checked out with 4:20 left in the third quarter and never returned. How worried should fans be about the Unicorn’s injury? Let us take a closer look.
Should Dallas Mavericks fans panic about Kristaps Porzingis’ injury?
Porzingis was not aggressive on Thursday night. He did not attempt a shot in the first two minutes of the game. KP finally made his first one midway through the opening period. Perhaps, that was to be expected after missing a week of action. His rebounding woes and lack of boxing out were striking, but he finished five of 11 from the field on the offensive end.
Coach Rick Carlisle had this to say about Porzingis’ knee injury following Thursday’s game, courtesy of Callie Caplan.
Brad Townsend followed up with a question about the Unicorn’s play before the injury.
Carlisle nailed it. Porzingis looked like someone knocking the rust off after missing a week of action. The Pistons were playing a young team that was full of energy on April 29. It was expected that KP would look a step slow.
The panic level on Kristaps has to be high right now. The Unicorn missed three games and could not finish three quarters in his return before going out again. Admittedly, I am a Porzingis fan, who believes he has faced an unfortunate string of injuries, but there should be significant worry here. The Mavericks have ten regular-season contests left in the next 17 days. KP missed ten consecutive games and 19 days with knee soreness in the middle of the 2019-2020 season. Could he be out until the playoffs? Longer?
The injuries continue to pile up too. Hearing knee injury and Porzingis in the same sentence makes my stomach turn. KP injured the same knee in the bubble playoffs. He missed the final three games in their first-round series versus the LA Clippers before having an offseason meniscus repair. It may not be that serious, but fans should worry this close to the postseason.
The Dallas Mavericks are likely to be eliminated in the first round again if Kristaps Porzingis cannot play in the playoffs. Until an update is given, I’d set the panic meter at an eight out of ten. There are no guarantees that KP plays another regular-season game.
Dallas is just one game up on the Portland Trail Blazers for sixth in the Western Conference. Seven through ten are part of the play-in tournament this season. The Mavs do not want to take part, but they may have to avoid it without Porzingis. Expect it to be no easy task.
Keep it locked to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest on Kristaps Porzingis’ knee injury and everything Dallas Mavericks fans need to know about their favorite team.