Dallas Mavericks PF Kristaps Porzingis will not play until at least January, coach Rick Carlisle told reporters on Tuesday at the opening of training camp. Porzingis has been doing light work on the court, per Carlisle. The coach even alluded to Porzingis being a bit ahead of schedule in his recovering from a torn meniscus suffered during the NBA bubble. The NBA season is set to begin on Dec. 22, so Porzingis will likely miss the first handful of games.
Porzingis sustained the injury during the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers, a series the Mavs dropped in six games. It had been reported previously that Porzingis was set to miss the start of the season, but now we have more of a timeline on the injury. He averaged 20.4 points and 9.5 rebounds in 57 games last season.
With Porzingis out initially, the Mavericks will likely use a rotation of Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber at center. We saw Kleber slotted into the starting lineup in place of Porzingis in the playoffs. Kleber struggled but this is a different environment in the regular season. If you have Porzingis in keeper/dynasty leagues, grabbing Kleber as insurance isn’t a bad idea. He’s got enough upside to provide value in standard leagues early on.
If you’re like me, you’re already planning out your DFS lineups around Luka Doncic without Porzingis in the lineup to start the season. Doncic is an MVP candidate and fantasy basketball stud. With Porzingis out of the lineup, we should see a walking triple-double with slate-breaking ability on every slate until the big man returns.