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Willie Cauley-Stein’s absence from Mavs due to death in family

Mavs, Willie Cauley-Stein

Despite not being injured, Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein has been noticeably missing in the Mavs’ past nine games.

Initially listed out due to “personal reasons,” Cauley-Stein revealed that he took some time off following the death of a dear family member.

Per Brad Townsend of Dallas Morning News, the 26-year-old slotman revealed that the entire Mavs organization gave him the support he needed during the tough time.

“It’s A1,” Cauley-Stein said. “Showing it’s a great organization. Showed a lot of love. Still showing a lot of love. That’s always a good thing to come into.”

Willie Cauley-Stein re-joined his team on Monday morning at a Chicago hotel, prior to the team’s 109-107 defeat to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. He was greeted with plenty of smiles, hugs, and consoling words from his ever-supportive teammates.

The seven-foot Kentucky-product, who was acquired by the Mavs from the Golden State Warriors in January, last played for the team on February 21. He left Dallas the following morning shortly after receiving the tragic news.

Dallas swiftly made a move to acquire Cauley-Stein after Dwight Powell’s season-ending Achilles injury. He normed 5.6 points on 67.6 percent shooting to go along with 4.6 rebounds in nine appearances for the Mavs.

The Mavs are currently fighting tooth-and-nail to hold on to the last remaining playoff spots in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. They are currently clinging on the seventh seed with a 37-25 record.

Having Cauley-Stein in the line-up will be vital for head coach Rick Carlisle, especially when they go up against the behemoths of the West like Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert, among others.