6:43pm: The team has confirmed Lee’s left calf injury in a press release and adds that he won’t be available when it resumes workouts on July 1. There is no timetable for his return.
4:16pm: The Mavericks will be on the lookout for possible roster reinforcements once the NBA’s transactions window opens on Tuesday, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
Already missing Dwight Powell, who tore his Achilles in January, and Jalen Brunson, who underwent shoulder surgery in March, Dallas will now be without Courtney Lee as well. According to Stein, Lee suffered a calf injury during the hiatus that required surgery. Confirming Stein’s report, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets that Lee suffered the injury in a “freak accident.”
Although neither Stein nor Lee provides a specific recovery timetable for Lee, MacMahon refers to the injury as “significant,” which makes it sound as if the veteran swingman probably won’t be available this summer.
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), injured players aren’t eligible to be replaced by substitute players, so Dallas wouldn’t be able to simply add three players to its Orlando roster in place of Powell, Brunson, and Lee without making corresponding moves to open up spots. Lee is on an expiring contract, so if his season is over, he would be the most logical candidate to be released.
Although Lee wasn’t a regular contributor for the Mavericks throughout the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign, he emerged as part of the rotation in the month leading up to the league’s hiatus. The 34-year-old started five of seven games in March, averaging 6.6 PPG on .500/.467/1.000 shooting in 22.8 minutes per contest.
It remains unclear which free agents the Mavs may be targeting this week, or even which position they may focus on — with Powell, Brunson, and Lee on the shelf, the club is missing a player in its backcourt, on the wing, and in the frontcourt.