The Dallas Mavericks seemed to be transcending upward this week when it saw the return of All-Star Kyrie Irving. Dallas also got its first win of the year when it beat the Portland Trailblazers on Wednesday 126-97. Irving and Luka Doncic combined for 70 points, as the Mavs shot 43.3 percent from the 3-point line.
The Mavs also received key contributions off the bench, as the non-starters recorded 43 points, with Tim Hardaway Jr. scoring 14. Dallas also won the battle down low, scoring 52 points inside the paint.
However, the biggest storyline came in the third quarter, when rookie Dereck Lively II went down after an apparent leg injury. Lively II had to be helped off the court as he was ruled out of the game with a left ankle sprain.
Dallas Mavericks stabbed in heart after unfortunate injury to rookie big man
The Dallas rookie missed four games last month when he suffered an injury to the same ankle.
Coach Jason Kidd provided an update on the injury status of Lively II and Mavs forward Grant Williams after the game.
So, What's next for Lively II and the Dallas Mavericks?
The good news is the Mavs' center suffered nothing more than a mild ankle sprain. The problem is recovery time can vary from one to three weeks or even more, depending on the severity of the injury.
Can Dallas wait that long?
The numbers say no. If Lively II were to be out for a couple of weeks, this would be a major dilemma for the team, as they are 1-5 in games without their rookie center.
As mentioned, last month, Lively II missed four games during which the Mavs went 1-3. During that period, Dallas struggled without Lively II. Against the Denver Nuggets, Dallas allowed the opposition to haul in 37 defensive rebounds and score 60 points inside. Two days later, the Mavs again fell flat inside the paint as it allowed the Los Clippers to record 60 points down low.
The problem is teams seem to have no problem attacking the rim with Lively II out of the lineup. Lively II's aggression and protection down low is something the Mavs struggle with when he is out.
Two months ago, Dallas suffered the same dilemma against the Toronto Raptors, when they were outscored in the paint 72-40. The issue? The team was without its rookie center.
The Dallas Morning News took note of Lively II's absence. The news outlet reported that in 168 minutes Lively II played, the team recorded a 110.7 defensive rating. (subscription required) However, in 216 minutes, when he was off the court, the Mavs had a 114.8 defensive rating.
Losing Lively II would be a huge blow for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs rookie leads the team in offensive rebounding and blocks. Not to mention, he has also established a mean pick-and-roll game with Luka.
Before the injury Wednesday, Lively II was doing a bit of everything, as he finished the night with three defensive rebounds, four assists, and three blocks.
In addition, Williams also suffered a mild ankle injury against Portland.
Dallas will await the status of Lively II and Williams in the coming days.
Until then, stay tuned for all the latest on Dereck Lively II, Grant Williams, and the Dallas Mavericks.
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