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USATSI

The Dallas Mavericks made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016, but their impressive season came to an end in the first round after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in six games. While the Clippers were the better team, it didn't help that the Mavericks lost Kristaps Porzingis to a knee injury after Game 3. 

It turned out he had suffered a torn meniscus, and the big man underwent surgery to address the problem in October. Now, we have a timeline for when he could be back on the court. During a radio appearance on Monday, Mavericks president Donnie Nelson said the team is targeting Jan. 1 for Porzingis' return to basketball activity. It's still not clear when he'll be able to play in games. 

The team was initially hopeful that Porzingis would be able to return by training camp, but that was when everyone was expecting the season to begin in mid-January. When opening night was moved up to Dec. 22, there was no chance that Porzingis was going to be ready to start the season. 

Kristaps Porzingis
DAL • PF • 6
PPG19.2
RPG9.5
BPG2.08
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Porzingis' first full season with the Mavericks was a success as he put up 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and two blocks per game, and shot 35.2 percent from 3-point land. His ability to space the floor for Luka Doncic was a key factor in the Mavericks putting up the most efficient offense in league history -- 115.9 offensive rating in the regular season. Together the duo led Dallas to the playoffs, and they appear to have a bright future together, especially if the Mavericks can add another star in free agency.

That is, as long as Porzingis can stay healthy. Injuries have been a major issue for the Latvian in recent years, and he's now suffered a torn ACL in his left knee, and a torn meniscus in his right. He missed the entire 2018-19 season due to the ACL injury, and in the last three seasons he's been active, he's played 66 games, 48 games and 57 games. Now again, he'll miss a significant portion of the season. 

Hopefully this will be the last of the serious issues for Porzingis, but his inability to stay on the floor for extended periods of time is something to consider when discussing the Mavericks' future.