Mavericks' Kristaps Porzingis Exits with Back Injury vs. Rockets

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 27, 2021

Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis dunks during the second half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis was forced to leave Tuesday's game against the Houston Rockets due to lower back tightness, per Marc Stein.

Porzingis had nine points on 2-of-10 shooting in 20 minutes before coming out of the game.

The 26-year-old entered the day with an average of 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in his first two games of the year. 

While Porzingis is a one-time All-Star and one of the best big men in the NBA when healthy, injuries have been a major hindrance for him throughout his career.

Porzingis has played in at least 70 games just once during his career, that being his rookie season with the New York Knicks. Over the past four seasons, he has played in less than 60 games each year.

The biggest injury Porzingis has had to deal with was a torn ACL suffered during his 2017-18 All-Star season in New York. Porzingis was traded from New York to Dallas while injured and missed the entire 2018-19 campaign.

He returned the following season to make his Mavs debut, and while he was limited to 57 games, he enjoyed arguably the best statistical season of his career, averaging 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.8 assists.

Porzingis performed well last season also, averaging 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 blocks, but he was once again plagued by injuries, which limited him to 43 games.

The Mavericks acquired Porzingis with the notion that he would be the ideal running mate for superstar guard Luka Doncic, and he has proved to be a good complement.

Porzingis is the Mavs' No. 2 scoring option behind Doncic, their top big and their best defensive player as well, which makes losing him for any period of time a significant issue.

The Mavericks do boast some solid frontcourt depth, but none of the players who would fill in for Porzingis possess the combination of scoring and defensive ability that he does in the paint.

If Porzingis does land on the shelf, centers Dwight Powell, Boban Marjanovic and Moses Brown will see a bump in playing time.