The Dallas Mavericks, currently at 20-22 and fighting for a playoff spot, received a blow after finding out that sixth man JJ Barea will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles.
Barea suffered the injury while driving to the basket to score a layup in the fourth quarter of a road win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.
The 34-year-old point guard has mainly played off the bench for Dallas this season, but has been one of the team’s most valuable players.
In only 20 minutes per game, the Puerto Rico native is averaging 10.9 points and 5.6 assists per game.
The Mavericks have overperformed this season and are still in playoff contention past the season’s halfway point, but Barea’s injury might too much to overcome.
Rookie point guard Jalen Brunson, the 33rd overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft, is expected to fill Barea’s role for the rest of the season. The Villanova graduate is averaging 6.2 points and 2.1 points per game in a reserve role this season.
Barea’s injury could mean a disappointing end to the guard’s 5 seasons in a Mavericks uniform, as he is set to become a free agent this summer.