Mavs' Dereck Lively II takes brutal KNEE to the head as center leaves game vs Timberwolves with potential sprained neck

Lively was taken back to the locker room for the NBA's concussion protocolREAD MORE: Mavericks' Luka Doncic drills game-winning 3-pointer

Dallas Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II has left Sunday's playoff game against the Minnesota Timberwolves early after suffering a brutal neck injury.

Lively was floored during the second quarter at American Airlines Center after taking a gruesome but accidental knee to the head from Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns.

The 20-year-old had fallen as Mike Conley was driving for a missed shot, and Towns was pursuing an offensive rebound when his knee struck his head.

Lively spent several minutes on the floor before eventually being helped to his feet and making his way back to the locker room seemingly for concussion protocol.

However, ESPN's Tim MacMahon later claimed he left the arena to get a scan on his neck, which is understood to be sprained.

Dereck Lively II was brutally kneed in the head
Karl-Anthony Towns accidentally kneed him

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II has left Sunday's playoff game against the Minnesota Timberwolves early after suffering a potential concussion

DLIVE pic.twitter.com/5OUbdRDxa7

— MavsHighlights (@MavsHighlights) May 27, 2024

Lively is not believed to have entered the NBA's concussion protocol at this time.

He had scored six points up until that point in Game 3 of the Mavs' Western Conference final against the Timberwolves, having helped his team both offensively and defensively during its deep playoff run this season.

The center was 12 of 12 from the field in the series, including three makes in Game 3, when he was injured.

There was no immediate word on whether Lively would return, but it appeared likely he was headed for concussion protocol.

Dallas headed into Sunday's Game 3 with a 2-0 lead in the bank following Luka Doncic's heroics on Friday night.

Doncic searched to find space as the clock ticked down, using a screen to draw Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert out to the top of the key and a crossover dribble to set up his step-back 3-pointer.

Lively spent several minutes on the floor before eventually being helped to his feet and making his way back to the locker room

Lively spent several minutes on the floor before eventually being helped to his feet and making his way back to the locker room

The Slovenian superstar hit the winner with 3 seconds left and posted his fifth triple-double of the playoffs to lead the Mavericks to a 109-108 victory over the Timberwolves.

'I was just trying to get to my spot and step back. I'm confident in that shot,' Doncic said.

Doncic had 32 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his eighth triple-double in 42 career postseason games for the Mavericks, who erased an 18-point deficit that stood late in the second quarter and were still down 16 midway through the third.

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