Only a few games into the 2021-22 campaign, the Mavericks are already dealing with an injury to one of their most important players.
Dallas big man Kristaps Porzingis is dealing with a back issue, and though it may not turn out to be a long-term problem, it is yet another injury to add to the list. He has played in 103 of a possible 151 games over the last two-plus regular seasons because of a variety of health concerns.
What is the status of Porzingis ahead of Dallas’ next game? Here are the latest updates on the 26-year-old.
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WILL KRISTAPS PORZINGIS PLAY TONIGHT?
Porzingis has not yet been given a designation on the Mavericks’ official injury report ahead of Friday night’s matchup between the Mavericks and Nuggets. He missed Thursday’s game against the Spurs because of “low back tightness.” He left Dallas’ 116-106 victory over Houston on Tuesday night after playing just 20 minutes.
Before Porzingis was ruled out for Thursday’s contest, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd told reporters that the team will be taking Porzingis’ injury “one day at a time.”
“This will be our first back-to-back, so hopefully [Thursday] in the afternoon we’ll have a plan of what we’re going to do,” Kidd said on Wednesday (via The Dallas Morning News). “But first, we just want to see how he feels and hopefully he can go.”
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KRISTAPS PORZINGIS’ EARLY STRUGGLES UNDER JASON KIDD
Before he suffered the back injury, Porzingis had been struggling to recapture his scoring touch from last season. Through three games, he is averaging 12.7 points on 30.2/23.5/72.7 shooting splits (field goals/3-pointers/free throws). In 2020-21, Porzingis scored 20.1 points per game while shooting 47.6/37.6/85.5.
At Dallas’ media day, Kidd noted that Luka Doncic had to lean on his teammates more often, especially Porzingis. Kidd wanted Porzingis to be more than just a spot-up shooter and declared that he would not be “limited to shooting 3s or crashing from the corner.”
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, Porzingis has been inefficient in multiple areas. Among players who have logged at least two post-ups per game, Porzingis is tied for last in points per possession (0.50), per NBA.com stats. He is also shooting under 40 percent on his midrange attempts.
It’s still very early in the season, of course, but Dallas will need Porzingis to be much more productive offensively if it wants to be taken seriously as a contender in the Western Conference.
MAVERICKS VS. NUGGETS INJURY REPORT
(Current as of 11:30 a.m. ET Friday)
Team Player Status Reason
Nuggets Vlatko Cancar Out Left hip; strain
Nuggets Nikola Jokic Questionable Right knee; contusion
Nuggets Jamal Murray Out Left knee; injury recovery
Mavericks TBD TBD TBD