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Scary Injury Sidelines Duke Basketball One-And-Done in NBA Playoffs

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Thanks to 33 points apiece from the hands of co-stars Luka Doncic and former Duke basketball guard Kyrie Irving on Sunday night, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves, 116-107, taking a 3-0 lead in the series and moving to within one win of the franchise’s first NBA Finals appearance since its 2011 title.

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Unfortunately for the Mavericks and their NBA Blue Devil big man, 2022-23 one-and-done Dereck Lively II sustained an inadvertent knee to the back of his head in the second quarter and did not return.

As one can see in the video below, after attempting to block a shot, Lively fell backward into the knee of Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, who was already on his way up to compete for the rebound. Lively’s neck appears to be the primary concern, as the collision resulted in a frighteningly jerky head snap, after which the 7-footer eventually received assistance in walking back to the locker room:

Late Sunday night, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported that Lively “left the arena to get a scan to evaluate the severity of his sprained neck.”

Lively, arguably the most important piece to the Dallas bench as just a 20-year-old rookie, had six points, three rebounds, two assists, one block, and zero turnovers across his nine minutes of action before exiting the game. Plus, adding his 3-for-3 shooting clip to his performances in Games 1 and 2, he’s a perfect 13-for-13 from the field and 3-for-3 at the foul line in the Western Conference Finals.

“He helps us so, so much in these playoffs and in the regular season,” Doncic said about the giant Duke basketball talent afterward. “Obviously, we’re going to miss him if he can’t play.”

The series remains in Dallas for Game 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.

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