Maxi Kleber is the latest Maverick that will have to miss extended time due to testing positive for COVID-19 after the Mavs win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported Kleber as a confirmed positive with it still unconfirmed which of the trio of Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson also tested positive on Friday.
As of now, no other Mavericks have been announced as positive tests or needing to sit out due to contact tracing, but it’s hard to figure that out when Kleber literally played 24 minutes in last night’s game and sat on the bench with his other teammates. More news could be announced later on Sunday, but as of now, the Mavs will have 12 players available for their Monday game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Dallas.
Kleber’s positive test was also the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to the Mavericks needing to shut down their training facility. It was reportedly shut down on Sunday, but the Mavs weren’t scheduled to practice anyway.
Dallas typically doesn’t have shootarounds before home games, so it’s possible that the team will go from right after the game on Saturday night until right before the game on Monday without seeing each other in person.
With Kleber on the shelf, the Mavericks will now be without four of their top seven players when it comes to minutes played per game this season.
|Luka Doncic||34.0 MPG|
|Tim Hardaway Jr.||30.3|
**Out due to COVID protocols
Obviously the number one concern is the health and well-being of all of these players and their families, but the Mavericks have certainly been hit where it hurts when it comes to major contributors being knocked out due to COVID.
Trey Burke, who tested positive for the virus back in July, has had a lot of communication with his teammates who are now forced to isolate and shared the advice he gave them with the media on Saturday night.
“It is a real experience. It is a lot of isolation time, a lot of time you get to yourself. That can go one of two ways. That is going to be my encouragement to J. Rich [Josh Richardson], JB [Jalen Brunson], and Dodo [Dorian Finney-Smith]. I know it is a tough time and it is unfortunate but try to use this isolation time to do some meditation, some visualization, and try to work on yourself. That will help them come back prepared.”
Obviously, this is just about as unprecedented of a situation as any NBA team has ever fought through. However, the Mavericks are not alone as across the NBA, other teams like the 76ers and the Celtics are arguably in even worse shape with Philadelphia playing Saturday’s game against the Nuggets with just the minimum eight dressed players and the Celtics prepared to be without seven players tonight due to COVID protocols.
The NBA is going through it right now and it’s going to have to have legitimate conversations about whether or not they can continue the season safely. The Mavericks surely wouldn’t mind pressing the pause button, but they probably won’t get that chance.
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