Mavericks Dereck Lively upgraded to questionable for Game 5 with neck sprain

In the three games against Minnesota, the presence of Dereck Lively on the court has had a significant impact for the Dallas Mavericks, as they have outscored their opponents by 22 points. Conversely, in the one game that Lively missed, Dallas suffered a loss.

While it may not be a straightforward correlation, this statistic highlights the importance of Lively to the Mavericks in this series. This was evident in Game 4, where his absence was sorely felt.

There is some positive news regarding Lively’s availability for Game 5 on Thursday night, as he has been upgraded to questionable.

However, it should be noted that this doesn’t guarantee his participation, as Lively was previously listed as questionable before Game 4 but ultimately did not play. Nevertheless, the current status appears to be more optimistic.

Lively sustained an injury in Game 3 when Karl-Anthony Towns accidentally kneed him in the back of the head as Lively was falling to the ground. He remained on the court for a few minutes before heading straight to the locker room. Unfortunately, he was unable to return due to a neck sprain.
Lively, the energetic player who comes off the bench, has played a crucial role in Dallas’ ability to keep Anthony Edwards away from the paint with his impressive rim protection skills. Additionally, he has been a dynamic finisher of Luka Doncic’s alley-oop passes on the offensive end. However, in Game 4, Jason Kidd attempted to fill the void left by Lively’s absence by briefly utilizing Dwight Powell, but it proved ineffective. Although Maxi Kleber returned after a lengthy absence due to a shoulder injury, he seemed hesitant to take shots and does not offer the same level of rim protection as Lively.
“Doncic acknowledged Lively’s significance to both our defense and offense,” stating, “We definitely miss him a lot,” following Game 4.

Fortunately, they may not have to continue missing his presence on Thursday night.