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Dereck Lively sustains lower back contusion against Lakers

Lively took a hard fall in the third quarter

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks’ rookie center Dereck Lively II suffered a lower back contusion in Wednesday night’s 104-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on the road. He checked out of the game with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter and did not return.

The injury occurred after Lively came down hard after an alley-oop attempt. He hit the floor and remained there through the next possession. He was eventually helped to his feet by teammates and Mavericks staffers and gingerly walked back to the locker room with a noticeable limp.

After the game, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd attributed Lively’s limp to sustaining a contusion in his back.

“That’s probably what happened,” Kidd said in his postgame press conference. “I didn’t see the fall. Yeah, I would say that’s probably why he was struggling to walk.”

According to Kaiser Permanente, it can take several days to a few weeks for a lower back contusion to get better if there isn’t any serious damage. The Mavericks haven’t announced the next steps for Lively’s recovery, but he could undergo tests that may include X-rays or an MRI to determine the severity of his injury.

Lively had been a solid rebounding presence for Dallas before exiting the game. He posted two points, 10 rebounds — including four offensive boards — and three assists. This was the third time Lively has posted double-digit rebounds this season with at least four offensive rebounds.

Including his effort against the Lakers, Lively has established himself as a key member of the Mavericks’ starting lineup and one of the top rookies in the NBA. Kidd sees out of his young big man.

“One, his voice — he’s getting comfortable, and then we’re asking him to playmake,” Kidd said. “Understanding when you have guys like Luka and Kai, they’re going to get double-teamed, and a lot of times, the first pass is to Lively. His ability to pass and his basketball IQ is extremely high.

“He’s done an incredible job for us here early in the season. But again, I think he also gave us some offensive rebounds here tonight that kept our offense going. And again, rim-running — he puts a lot of pressure on the defense, and he causes a problem.”

This season, Lively has played in 14 games, starting 13, averaging 8.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 24 minutes. He’s shooting 69.4 percent overall, with 82 percent of his field goal attempts at the rim.

It’s not just Lively’s coach who is singing his praises. His teammates are also impressed with his effort on the floor.

“D-Live has done an amazing job, especially as a rookie, being able to make the pass from setting the screen and rolling,” Josh Green said after the game. “He’s done an amazing job, and Richaun [Holmes] did an amazing job tonight.”

Holmes entered the game in Lively’s absence and had several key plays down the stretch to help Dallas win. He finished the night with four points, 10 rebounds, and an assist in 23 minutes.

The Mavericks resume play after the Thanksgiving break on Saturday in L.A. This time, facing the Los Angeles Clippers. If Lively isn’t available, Dallas will be without a player who brings more to the game than what shows up in the box score.

“When you talk about Lively’s maturity as a 19-year-old, not just as a basketball player but as a person, he had to go through some stuff,” Kidd said. “When you talk about taking care of his mom, he had to grow up fast. You talk about paying the bills. The responsibility of real life.

“And you can see that the carryover on the court is extremely high, and then you add the care factor. He wants to win. It’s all about winning. That’s who he is, and we’re lucky to have him [as] part of the Mavs’ family.”