The Dallas Mavericks have won 12 of their last 15 games. The hot streak has clinched them a place in the top six in the Western Conference and has the Mavs playing their best basketball at the right time. They have done significant portions of it without Maxi Kleber. The forward has missed six games in that stretch and has not looked himself in others.
He sat out in the second to the last game of the regular season on May 14 as the Mavericks edged the shorthanded the Toronto Raptors with a reoccurring Achilles issue. Kleber is one of the team’s best defenders and a key piece on both ends of the floor. Should fans be worried about his injury as the postseason draws near?
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle offered an update on Kleber’s injury before tipoff on Friday night. Here is a closer look at his comments before determining how worried supporters should be about the issue.
Should Dallas Mavericks fans be worried about Maxi Kleber’s injury?
Coach Carlisle had this to say about the injury during his pregame media availability on May 14.
"“He’s been battling a lot of little things on and off. This Achilles thing has been quote-un-quote manageable to an extent. It’s gotten into a bit of a yo-yo good days bad days thing. It’s tough for a guy who really depends on his quickness to guard smaller guys on switches, to protect the rim, to rebound.”"
Carlisle did not rule him out for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Minnesota Timberwolves. There is little need to play Kleber with a nagging injury, though. The Mavericks will be in the playoffs. Yes, they can secure the fifth seed with a win, but a healthy Kleber in the postseason is far more important. Dallas will have at least five days to rest between the regular season final and Game 1 of their first-round series because of the play-in tournament. Hopefully, that is enough to get Kleber healthy.
Fans should be worried about his injury. He has been on and off the injury report for over a month now with the issue. The 6’10 big man did not have his usual quickness and burst in his last two games against the Grizzlies and Pelicans. Kleber is the team’s best 3-point shooter and one of their top defenders. They need him healthy in the playoffs. That appears to be no guarantee at the moment, and that should have fans worrying a bit.
The Dallas Mavericks are hot at the right time. Expect them to be a handful in the playoffs regardless of the matchup. Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for updates on Maxi Kleber and all the latest on the team.