In the midst of a tight battle for postseason positioning in the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks were without a key contributor for their 111-103 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night. Kristaps Porzingis missed the game due to a sprained right wrist, and though at first there was some concern about the potential of him missing more time, that doesn't seem to be the case.
On Tuesday, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said that Porzingis was doing better and is likely to play against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
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Injury issues aren't a new problem for Porzingis, who has appeared in just 31 of 49 games for the Mavericks this season. He had knee surgery over the offseason and missed the first nine games of the current campaign as a result. He also missed a string of games in February due to lower back tightness. Now the wrist injury can be added to the list of ailments that have forced him to miss game action this season.
When Porzingis has played this season, he's been very solid for Dallas. He's averaging 20.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 blocks in 30.6 minutes of action per performance while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 35 percent from long range. He's the Mavericks' leading rebounder and second-leading scorer on the season. In other words, inconsistent availability has been his main issue this season.
The Mavericks are looking to climb up the West standings over the final six weeks of the season. Dallas currently sits seventh in the West -- a position that would land it in the play-in tournament before the start of postseason play. If the Mavs can climb from the seventh spot to sixth, they would secure a playoff berth and avoid having to participate in the play-in tournament.
The Mavs are currently two games behind the No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers, but also just three games ahead of the No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies. How they fare over the next few weeks will go a long way toward determining where they ultimately finish in the playoff picture, and obviously they'd like to have Porzingis available for as many games moving forward as possible. Thus, it's certainly good news for Dallas that Porzingis' wrist injury doesn't seem serious and that he's expected to be back out with his teammates in the near future.