Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Maxi Kleber injury: Mavs forward could miss the rest of the postseason with dislocated shoulder, per report

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The Dallas Mavericks advanced past the first round of the playoffs for just the second time since 2011 after beating the Los Angeles Clippers in six games after Friday night’s 114-101 win. It sets up a second-round meeting against the No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder, where Dallas will be without one of their key rotation players. Forward Maxi Kleber is expected to miss significant time after dislocating his shoulder, per The Athletic, and could be sidelined for the rest of the playoffs.

Kleber doesn’t put up huge numbers, but he’s a key role player in Dallas’ frontcourt who can spread the floor out to the 3-point line, and provides additional interior defense. His five 3-pointers in Game 5 were a significant reason why the Mavericks were able to beat the Clippers. Not having him against a Thunder team that has a great deal of depth will be a major loss for the Mavericks.

Kleber sustained the shoulder injury during Dallas’ Game 6 win. While taking off to attempt a layup, Amir Coffey attempted to take a charge but Kleber was already in the air and fell awkwardly. He landed directly on his shoulder without bracing his fall and remained on the ground in pain for some time. Once he managed to get up, he was favoring his right shoulder, and head coach Jason Kidd took a timeout to give Kleber some time to recover. He took both of his free throw attempts, but on the very next possession, you could see him grimacing in pain so he was taken out of the game.

Here’s how the injury occurred:

He was originally listed as doubtful to return to the game, but then later was downgraded to out with a shoulder sprain. After the game Kidd was asked about his concern level regarding Kleber’s injury, to which he replied, “next man up,” as if to suggest others will need to be ready to go if Kleber is to miss time. Now it appears that next man up mentality will come into play against the Thunder.

Dallas doesn’t really have anyone who can replicate what Kleber does, but they do have big man Dwight Powell on the bench whose pick-and-roll chemistry with Luka Doncic has been successful over the years. But Powell doesn’t shoot 3s and he’s not as good of a defender as Kleber is, but the Mavericks may need to call upon him if OKC starts to dominate in the paint. Beyond that, they have Markieff Morris, who is an end-of-the-bench guys whose averaged just 8.3 minutes during the regular season and has yet to play in the postseason. There’s also rookie forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper who missed Game 3 with an ankle injury. 

The Mavs open their series against the Thunder on Tuesday, May 7 at 9:30 p.m. ET. 

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