Dallas Mavericks rookie center Dereck Lively II missed the team's last game on Saturday due to a lower back contusion. In the team's previous game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Lively fell hard after a lob attempt at the rim, injuring his back and having to be helped to the locker room.
Now, Lively's status for Tuesday night's in-season tournament game against the Houston Rockets is in doubt as he continues to recovery from the scary fall. Once again, Lively finds himself on the injury report and listed as questionable to play.
The good news for Lively and the Mavs is that things are trending upwards and it does not appear as if he will miss an extended period of time. Whether or not Lively plays on Tuesday is still a big question mark.
The Mavs have been searching for answers in their frontcourt for quite some time. Dwight Powell and Richaun Holmes entered the year as the two veteran big men on Dallas' roster, but Lively stood out given his length and athleticism at 19 years old.
Drawing his first start in the team's second game of the season, Lively has started in 13 of the 14 games he has played in, averaging 8.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 69.4 percent from the floor. As of right now, Lively is on track to earn All-Rookie honors at the conclusion of the season.
If he is able to go, Lively would supply the Mavs with some much-needed production on both ends of the court at the center position. Alperen Sengun has been having an All-Star-like season for the Rockets to this point, which is one of the reasons having a big-bodied center like Lively would be advantageous to Dallas in this matchup.
This season's Rockets are not the same slumping team we have become accustomed to seeing in Houston. Currently 8-6 on the season, the Rockets are looking to advance out of the group stage of the in-season tournament with a win over Dallas on Tuesday. As for the Mavs, they have been eliminated from the tournament and can only spoil the Rockets' quarterfinal dreams.
Now 10-6 on the year following an 8-2 start to the season, the Mavs are looking to get back to their winning ways on Tuesday night. Should Lively miss this matchup against Houston, his next chance to play will come on Friday, December 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies.