The Dallas Mavericks will be shorthanded when they face the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day. Maxi Kleber, Josh Green, and Dorian Finney-Smith remain out and are unlikely to play anytime soon. Kemba Walker was the fourth Maverick ruled out the day before the game.
Head coach Jason Kidd tried to downplay Walker missing Friday’s game and noted the team hoped that he would be ready to play on Christmas Day against the Lakers. Kemba has dealt with multiple knee issues in recent years, which always made just a one-game absence a bit of a stretch.
Walker being ruled out the day before the game likely means he will miss additional time. Who steps up for the shorthanded Mavericks on Sunday afternoon?
Kemba Walker (knee) to miss Mavericks vs Lakers on Christmas Day: Likely more time
Kemba had just solidified his place in the rotation before being forced to miss time. He played in four straight games, including a 32-point explosion with Luka Doncic resting that proved Walker could still put on a show.
The Mavs only had 12 healthy bodies for Friday’s win in Houston and head coach Jason Kidd used 11 players, including two-way option McKinley Wright IV. Dwight Powell played the most minutes off the bench at just 18. Expect Kidd to spread the minutes around again on Christmas Day.
Reggie Bullock was off the injury report, so he will likely stick in the starting five next to Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Spencer Dinwiddie, and Christian Wood. Each should play over 30 minutes in their Christmas Day showdown against the Lakers.
Stay tuned for injury updates on Kemba Walker. He has dealt with knee issues for years, so expect the Dallas Mavericks to proceed with caution. Remember Davis Bertans had a knee issue during training camp that caused him to miss the first 13 games of the regular season. Could Kemba face a similar fate? Be on the lookout for updates as they become available.