Dwight Powell went down with a season-ending injury, but his teammates know he won’t be down for long, but what to do in the interim?
Towards the end of the first quarter, Dwight Powell went to push off his back foot only to feel the scariest snap run up his right leg. Coach Carlisle immediately called a timeout as Powell lay in agony on the floor.
First Carlisle covered his face as the entire bench cleared to gather round their guy.
First JJ Barea put his hands on his head exasperated, then Luka followed suit. Everyone seemed to know exactly what was going on even without a diagnosis as it had all the hallmarks of an Achilles injury.
Which was confirmed the next day via Mavs PR on Twitter.
The Dallas Mavericks announced today that center Dwight Powell suffered a rupture of his right Achilles tendon.
Powell is currently weighing his surgical options and updates will be provided as appropriate. pic.twitter.com/uigQ2qsX6c
— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) January 22, 2020
The Mavs would go on to lose that game against Kawhi and the Clippers 110-107, but the focus was on their teammate. After the game, Rick Carlisle told the media scrum present that Dwight Powell is a “soldier of the franchise” epitomizing his feelings on his character and role within the team. His teammates echoed how bad they feel for the guy as he is so liked and respected in the locker room, but they shared another sentiment: no doubt he’ll be back.
“Dwight has a really good mindset, a really strong mindset. He’s going to be fine throughout the rehab if we get the worst news.” – Kristaps Porzingis to NBA.com
“Nobody better or mentally stronger to come back from this than him. Nobody has ever and will ever work as hard as he is going to do.” – JJ Barea to Tim McMahon on Dwight’s rehab.
JJ Barea would know better than anyone what Dwight has in store for him as he works his way back from this injury. Athletes come back to varying degrees from this injury and the Mavs have some recent experience rehabbing them from Wes Matthews when he joined the team back in 2015 to JJ’s rehab this past year and offseason. Heck, even Dirk dealt with some Achilles issues at the start of last season that the team helped him work through.
Casey Smith and his medical team has earned respect across the league for their work rehabbing players and there is no reason to think they along with the known gym rat/workhorse Dwight Powell won’t do EVERYTHING possible to get him back on the court as soon as possible.
Per Mavs PR, Dwight is seeking surgical options and a turnaround for this type of injury is anywhere from 6-9 months so that essentially ends Dwight’s season as the Mavs look to make the playoffs now without him. Additionally, for an athlete as explosive as Dwight, it might take additional time to feel comfortable again with making such dynamic plays. It might be a long road back, but the Mavs feel that if anyone can do it, it’s Dwight.
A year and 10 days after J.J. Barea tore his right Achilles, Powell likely did too. Carlisle compared the two last night:
“There are just some guys you know have that level of resourcefulness, have that fight in them. Barea is one of them, Powell is another. He will be back.”
— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) January 22, 2020
As far as on the court, the Mavs subbed in Boban to play a useful 16 minutes and played Maxi for an extended run next to Porzingis for a total of 31 minutes, which might be the team’s plan going forward. With Porzingis out for 10 games, the team really leaned hard on Maxi and Dwight to pick up the minutes load at the big men positions with the situational usage of Boban. It would seem that the big man jack-of-all-trades Maxi stands to take on a bigger role as a rim runner in Dwight’s absence and Boban checking in just to give KP and Maxi breathers.
Internally, the Mavs don’t have a ton of options at the center position with their penchant for 4-5 hybrid players, so does that intensify their willingness to add a big man before the trade deadline? Even prior to Dwight’s injury, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported on The Jump that the Mavs are looking for a big man addition before Feb 6th that can give them 15 PPG. This injury has to take away some leverage for those negotiations while simultaneously intensifying them.
Do the Mavericks think that losing Dwight Powell’s elite rim running next to Luka Doncic is enough to cost them a playoff run? If so, does that make them desperate enough to go bigger than they wanted and spend on Andre Drummond?
Do they turn their attentions away from adding a scoring wing-like Bogdan Bogdanovic to a big like Myles Turner or Kelly Olynyk. Obviously, none of these options are Dwight, but do the Mavs feel they can accomplish the goals they had 48 hrs ago WITHOUT a move now? It appears so as Tim McMahon reports that the Mavs have already touched base with free-agent center Joakim Noah…
Dwight Powell is technically the longest-tenured Maverick (since JJ has a gap in his playing time here), and he has become the identity of the Mavs culture. He practices longer and harder than any other player. He is a part of EVERY Mavs Care and charity function the team has. He has honed in and excelled at his exact role the team has asked of him.
— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) January 22, 2020
The team now has to revamp again to playing without him as a fixture in the lineup, but he’ll be there in his newest role from the sideline; outdoing his teammates in a new way: cheering as their biggest fan. We all believe in the hardest worker in the room, get well soon.