Mavericks' game-changing injury update boosts NBA Finals chances

Dallas Mavericks, Maxi Kleber, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Maxi Kleber, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In Game 6 of the Dallas Mavericks' series against the LA Clippers in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, the Mavs suffered an injury at the worst possible time.

While going up for a layup, Maxi Kleber was undercut by Amir Coffey, and he took a hard fall to the floor and suffered a full dislocation of the AC joint in his shoulder. This happened at the worst possible time for Dallas considering how well he was playing, but the Mavs have found a way to win without him.

Dallas has gone 7-2 since Kleber's injury, and his return could be coming soon. Kleber was scheduled to be re-evaluated yesterday, and the Mavs gave a huge update on Kleber ahead of Game 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.

Maxi Kleber's potential return boosts Mavericks' NBA Finals chances

According to Dallas' injury report, Kleber is listed as questionable for Game 4 with his right shoulder injury.

The Mavs haven't given any specific updates on Kleber, but him being upgraded from out to questionable is a huge step in the right direction. He is on track to return soon, and if he doesn't return during the Timberwolves series, I could see him returning at some point in the NBA Finals if the Mavs can close out Minnesota. His return alone boosts Dallas' chance of making the NBA Finals, and he could play a big role once he returns due to Dereck Lively II's injury that will likely keep him out for Game 4 tonight.

Kleber was seen shooting threes and working on his touch in the paint during Monday's practice, and him returning means more than most people realize. He shot 55.6 percent from downtown in Dallas' series against the Clippers, and his ability to switch on the perimeter is outstanding as well.

Kleber guards better in space is better than any other of Dallas' bigs and him being able to play the small-ball five gives the Mavs offense another dimension. Dallas will play the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals if they can beat the Timberwolves, and Kleber will be a huge X-factor in this series.

The Celtics' perimeter shooting from their frontcourt players has killed the Mavs in the past, and Kleber would play a big part in slowing down Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford.

Kleber's return is highly anticipated among Mavs fans, and he could give Dallas the boost they need to become NBA Finals favorites (if they take down the Timberwolves). Dallas is coming off a commanding Game 3 win over Minnesota, and tonight they have the chance to advance to their first NBA Finals since 2011.

For all the latest on Maxi Kleber and the Dallas Mavericks throughout the 2024 NBA Playoffs, stay tuned.