The Dallas Mavericks may be without their second best player for the third game in a row. Center Kristaps Porzingis’ outlook for Thursday’s pivotal Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers isn’t good.
Porzingis appears on Wednesday’s 2 p.m. ET injury report as questionable due to the lingering right knee soreness that has kept him sidelined for the previous two games. Also listed as questionable are Trey Burke, Luka Doncic, and Dorian Finney-Smith.
Head coach Rick Carlisle is optimistic that the latter three will suit up Thursday. He isn’t so certain about Porzingis.
“KP is working around the clock with Casey [Smith] and Dionne [Calhoun] and Valdi [Manuel Valdivieso]—the medical people that are here,” Carlisle said. “He doesn’t want to close the door on playing, but I’m just not optimistic watching how this is going.”
What ever Porzingis is dealing with is more serious than mere soreness. That much is clear. However, the Mavericks are being extremely tight-lipped about his injury. Regardless of what information the team is willing to provide, Carlisle’s statements don’t bode well.
In the three games he has played, Porzingis is averaging 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds. He’s also shooting the ball at a 52.5 percent clip from the floor and 52.9 percent from deep. Porzingis’ ability to stretch the floor has helped keep the Clippers’ defense honest.
If he isn’t able to play, the Mavericks changes of winning the game and extending the series to a Game 7 grow significantly more difficult.
“We won’t know for sure until tomorrow because he wants to leave the door open,” Carlisle said. “He desperately wants to play. It’s a tough spot. My hope is that he wakes up tomorrow morning feeling really good and that he can play. But I would like to be more optimistic than I am.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Manuel Valdivieso as Jeremy Holsopple.