The Dallas Mavericks are desperately trying to hang on to the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference standings, which will keep them out of the NBA’s new postseason play-in.
With just 10 games left on their regular season schedule, however, big man Kristaps Porzingis may be dealing with a new knee injury.
Porzingis left Dallas’ 115-105 win over the Detroit Pistons after the third quarter due to right knee soreness. And for the 7-foot-3 center with a long history of knee injuries, it’s easy to see why Mavericks fans would be worried — especially with the playoffs right around the corner.
“I have great concern this time of year when someone has a hangnail,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said, via the Dallas Morning News. “Look, the level of concern is there with all our guys. Overall, KP has responded well to any issues that he’s had with that knee. So we’ll hope it’s a short-term thing and hope for the best.”
Though the injury didn’t occur in the same knee that he tore his ACL in with the New York Knicks in 2018, Porzingis did have surgery on his right knee in October to repair a meniscus injury. That caused him to miss the first nine games of the season, and the Mavericks still frequently sit him during back-to-back games out of caution.
The 25-year-old was averaging 20.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game headed into Thursday’s contest, which marked just his 40th game of a possible 61. He finished with 11 points while shooting 5-of-11 from the field and had one rebound in 20 minutes against the Pistons.
It’s still unclear how severe Porzingis’ latest knee issue really is, as Carlisle didn’t have an update. And, in his defense, Thursday was his first night back after missing three games due to a left ankle sprain.
“I could tell that coming back after the better part of a week, it’s not as simple as just walking back out into an NBA game,” Carlisle said, via the Dallas Morning News.
“[He] did some very good things. But we’ve all seen him move better.”
The Mavericks currently have a 35-27 record and are one full game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers in the West.
With just 10 games left in the regular season, Kristaps Porzingis may be dealing with another knee issue. (AP/Duane Burleson)
More from Yahoo Sports: