DALLAS — Dereck Lively II missed time towards the end of the 2023-24 regular season due to a knee injury. However, he is dealing with much more serious circumstances outside of basketball. Lively's mother, Kathy Drysdale, passed away after a battle with cancer last Friday. Lively made the announcement on social media Friday, and the Mavericks held a moment of silence to honor Kathy before their game against the Detroit Pistons.

Nobody would have blamed Lively if he needed more time before returning to practice. But as Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said last Friday, the team is going to be there for Lively. And the 20-year-old decided to return to practice on Tuesday following the conclusion of the regular season.

With the Mavericks first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers scheduled to begin on Sunday, Lively practiced again on Thursday. Kidd provided an update on Lively after practice while speaking to reporters.

“He's done incredible,” Kidd said Thursday. “He's an incredible young man. His spirit is in a good place. What he's going through off the floor… You wouldn't know with the way he practiced today. But we all know, being with him yesterday, what he's going through. As a 20-year-old, he's been incredible. So we're here to support what he's going through off the floor. Again, he came to work today and he did a great job.”

The Mavs will practice once again on Friday before leaving for Los Angeles. Lively's status for Game 1 of the Mavericks-Clippers series is uncertain at the moment, but Kidd's update is a positive one.

Dereck Lively II's impressive rookie season

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) scores against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The last few weeks have obviously been difficult for Lively. However, the Mavericks and the city of Dallas has his back. He has become a fan-favorite in his first year with his new team.

From purely a basketball standpoint, Lively performed well during his rookie campaign. He averaged 8.8 points per outing on 74.7 percent field goal shooting across 55 games played. Lively started 42 of those games.

He also averaged 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Lively provided rim-protecting prowess for the Mavericks as well. Kidd understands how important it is to have two players, Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford, who can protect the basket.

“(Gafford and Lively), two guys who can protect the rim, protect the paint, and then on the offensive end being able to finish with the lobs,” Kidd said Thursday.

Again, Lively's status for the first game against the Clippers has yet to be announced. Friday's practice will likely go a long way towards determining his availability for the game.

The Mavericks will not rush him back given the circumstances. We will continue to monitor and provide updates on Dereck Lively II's status as they are made available.