The Dallas Mavericks dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night to clinch their fourth division title in franchise history. It was the team’s ninth win in their last 11 games. The Mavs’ hot streak has come at the right time as they attempt to avoid the play-in tournament. They are currently fifth in the Western Conference, but just two games up on seventh.
They have made their move without star Kristaps Porzingis. The Unicorn has missed eight of the last nine games. He suffered a sprained ankle against the Lakers on April 22 that cost him three contests. KP returned versus the Pistons where he suffered a knee injury that has kept him out since April 29.
Porzingis has spotted shooting two consecutive days, but he was ruled out by the team for Sunday’s game in Cleveland. Here is a closer look at what we know and why KP being ruled out so early should be concerning.
Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis is getting up shots but remains out
Brad Townsend posted a video of KP shooting before Friday’s tipoff. The Unicorn had one of his own on his Instagram story on May 8 where he tagged assistant coach God Shammgod. It is a plus to know that Porzingis is at least shooting, but there are plenty of reasons for concern.
One, it looks like he is only doing catch and shoot drills. There is no movement or running. That usually means the player is multiple days away from returning to game action. That is pure speculation. Perhaps, KP is doing more than we are seeing, but it is a bit worrying.
Two, the Mavericks ruled him out on the first injury report more than 24 hours before Sunday’s tipoff. It is another sign that Porzingis is not close to playing. Dallas has five games and one week remaining in the regular season. They need KP back as soon as possible, but he needs more time to recover from his knee injury.
If the Dallas Mavericks avoid the play-in, Porzingis will get additional time to heal. The NBA Playoffs do not begin until May 22. That means the Unicorn has two full weeks to get his knee issue sorted and be ready for the postseason. It would be nice to see him play first, but fans will take a healthy KP anyway it comes at this point.
The final five regular season games are massive for the Mavericks. They currently are two games out of the play-in tournament. Each win is crucial as they look to stay in the top six. The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers are both hungry to move up. Expect a wild finish over the final week.
Kristaps Porzingis’ knee injury is worth watching closely over the next two weeks. Fans saw inside the bubble that the Dallas Mavericks can beat anyone when KP is in the lineup. Hopefully, he is healthy and ready to go for the first round of the playoffs. Stay tuned.