Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber suffered a hard fall against the Clippers on Tuesday night. He immediately headed back to the locker room before trying to play for a few more minutes. Kleber was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game with a lower back contusion, and he missed the second night of the back-to-back against Houston on Wednesday night.
Kleber was ruled out for Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets a full day before tipoff. Head coach Jason Kidd said the 6’10 big man was day-to-day before Wednesday’s contest, but Kleber being ruled out so early implies that he is not close to returning to action.
It will be the second straight game missed after the hard fall, but who will step up against the Nuggets with Kleber out? With two-time MVP Nikola Jokic ruled out, the Mavs have options on Friday night. Here is a look at what they s could do with Maxi out.
Maxi Kleber to miss 2nd straight game with back injury: Who steps up?
Fans know that Kleber is the team’s preferred option to close games at the five. He offers a blend of floor spacing and defense that head coach Jason Kidd wants on the floor in pivotal moments.
Against the Clippers, Kidd opted for a small ball lineup with Dorian Finney-Smith shifting down to the five, and that could be an option again with Nikola Jokic out for Denver. The two-time MVP is currently in the health and safety protocols along with Jamal Murray.
Christian Wood and Dwight Powell should get more run. JaVale McGee has missed three straight games, but he was upgraded to probable to face the Nuggets. McGee will be called upon for his size.
Hopefully, Maxi Kleber will be back in the lineup in short order. The Dallas Mavericks play the Nuggets again on Sunday night before starting a three-game east coast road trip on Nov. 23 in Boston. Dallas will need Kleber healthy for that game, so stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest.