In-Season Tournament

Mavericks’ Maxi Kleber cleared to return for Game 4 vs. T’Wolves; Dereck Lively out with sprained neck

Mavericks' Maxi Kleber cleared to return for Game 4 vs. T'Wolves; Dereck Lively out with sprained neck

Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber has been cleared to play for Tuesday's Game 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Kleber is officially considered questionable for the game at the American Airlines Center, however, so it's unclear if he will make his return in the Western Conference finals.

It was originally believed that the 32-year-old Kleber would miss the rest of the Mavericks' postseason after suffering a third-degree dislocation of the AC joint of his right shoulder earlier this month. But a little over three weeks later, he is now available for Jason Kidd as Dallas looks to complete a sweep in the Western Conference finals.

Kleber injured his shoulder during Game 6 in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers. He landed hard on the floor after a foul by Amir Coffey. Kleber made one of his two free throws following the fall, but then exited the game.

Kleber played only 43 regular-season games for the Mavericks after missing significant time with a dislocated toe. If he does play on Tuesday night, head coach Jason Kidd said, he wouldn't play more than 30 minutes and the team would "ease him" back into the mix.

While the Mavericks will get Kleber back, they will be without center Dereck Lively II.

Lively sustained a sprained neck in Game 3 on Sunday night after taking an inadvertent knee to the back of the head from Karl-Anthony Towns.

Lively was able to leave the court with help from his teammates after being down for several moments. He went straight to the Mavericks' locker room and was listed as questionable to return before being ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Lively has not been placed in the NBA's concussion protocol. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that tests came back "OK" on Lively's neck, but he was ruled out of the game shortly before tipoff. He's doing "a lot better," Kidd said, but he's still sore.

Lively has averaged 8.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks this postseason for the Mavericks while shooting 65.3%. With Lively, an All-Rookie Team selection, on the floor, Dallas has outscored opponents in the playoffs by 109 points.

"We have to have next-man-up mentality," said Luka Dončić said after the Game 3 win. "Obviously, he's an amazing player. He's helped us so, so much in these playoffs and in the regular season. So obviously we're going to miss him if he can't play. But we got to have next-man-up mentality."

Source

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button