Mavs' Lively (neck) still iffy for G5 after workout

MINNEAPOLIS — Dallas Mavericks rookie center Dereck Lively II’s status for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals remains questionable after a 10-minute post-shootaround workout to test how his sprained neck felt while doing explosive movements.

“I was definitely moving,” Lively told ESPN when asked how the workout went while he was exiting the Target Center.

It was the first time that Lively sprinted and jumped since suffering the injury early in the second quarter of Game 3, when he was inadvertently kneed in the back of the head by Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Karl-Anthony Towns.

Lively, a second-team All-Rookie selection, sat out the Mavs’ Game 4 loss.

“I really don’t know how much I can do,” Lively said before media was cleared from the Target Center court for his individual workout. “We’re just figuring out what I can do. Just trying to take it, see what’s going to bring up red flags and what’s not.”

Mavs superstar Luka Doncic is also listed as questionable because of his sprained right knee and lingering ankle soreness. Doncic has been listed as questionable several times during the Mavs’ playoff run but has played every game.

Lively, who did not enter the NBA’s concussion protocol despite a head injury being an initial concern, had extreme stiffness and soreness in his neck and back in the couple of days after the injury occurred. Lively said he has regained full range of motion but is still experiencing some soreness.

“We’re not going to call it pain; we’re going to call it discomfort,” Lively said. “But everything in my neck was locked up from right after I got hit, so it’s just been a lot of treatment, a lot of stretching, just a lot of just listening to what my body’s telling me.”

Lively has been a major force throughout the playoffs and particularly in this series, scoring 29 points on 13-of-13 shooting and also contributing 23 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks in 63 minutes. Lively has the Mavs’ best plus-minus in this series (plus-22) and for the entire postseason (plus-109).

Lively hopes to return for Game 5, but he said he needs to “listen to my body” before a determination on his availability is made.

“I don’t want to go out there and get hurt again,” Lively said. “I don’t want to go out there and flare something up in my back or my neck. So what I’m going to do is just take it step by step.”

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