How long is Dereck Lively II out? Neck injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Mavericks center

Only one more win separates the Mavericks from a spot in the 2024 NBA Finals. Dallas has a shot at closing out the Western Conference Finals on the road on Thursday night after building a 3-1 series lead over Minnesota.

The Mavericks missed out on an opportunity to sweep the Timberwolves without star rookie Dereck Lively II. Lively was injured during Game 3 of the series, and his status is worth monitoring moving forward.

The No. 12 pick from the 2023 NBA Draft is averaging 8.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in roughly 21 minutes of action for the Mavericks. Lively has been one of the best bench options for Jason Kidd’s team.

Here’s what we know about Lively’s injury and his status for the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

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What is Dereck Lively’s injury?

During Game 3 of the Mavericks-Timberwolves series, Lively took an inadvertent knee from Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns. There was a scramble for a rebound, and as Lively fell to the hardwood, he was struck by Towns’ knee in the back of the head.

The Dallas rookie needed a moment to gather himself, but he stood up on his own. However, it was evident he was in discomfort. 

He was helped to the locker room, and the injury was ruled as a neck sprain, according to TNT Sports’ Chris Haynes.

Due to the nature of the injury, Lively had to be evaluated for a concussion, per the NBA’s concussion protocol. 

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How long is Derek Lively out? 

Lively will be made available for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday, per Haynes.

Lively traveled with the team to Minnesota on Wednesday and completed a 10-minute workout after the team’s shootaround on Thursday to test the injury. He also went through his regular pregame routine intending to play and he has been cleared to go.

The Mavericks lead the series 3-1 and can close out the Western Conference Finals on the road on Thursday. A win would give Lively and Dallas ample time to recover, as the NBA Finals won’t start until Thursday, June 6. 

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves schedule

Date Game Time (ET) TV/Live stream
May 22 Mavericks 108, Timberwolves 105
May 24 Mavericks 109, Timberwolves 108
May 26 Mavericks 116, Timberwolves 107
May 28 Timberwolves 105, Mavericks 100
May 30 Game 5 8:30 p.m. TNT, Sling
June 1 Game 6* 8:30 p.m. TNT, Sling
June 3 Game 7* 8:30 p.m. TNT, Sling

*If necessary

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