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Mavs' Maxi Kleber Opens Up About COVID Complications

Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber was one of the many NBA players who contracted COVID-19 during the 2020-21 season. He shares his experience.

DALLAS — The 2020-21 NBA season was a campaign filled with more adversity for teams and individual players than the typical set of circumstances tend to offer. The Dallas Mavericks and Maxi Kleber experienced this first hand. 

Kleber was among the many players around the league who missed game action due to COVID-19. He ended up being sidelined for 11 regular-season games as a result. 

There were impacts that Kleber felt limited by after making his return to the lineup. He was unable to move for a few days. Even after feeling better, he was unable to be cleared to play due to the protocols. 

“I think being sick was the hardest part about it,” Kleber told Mavs.com. “It was just like not being able to move for the first couple of days. 

“It was just like watching the games, not being able to practice and not being able to do anything, because there’s this point where you feel better, but you’re still not cleared (to practice or play) and you can’t really do anything. It’s really annoying to waste your time like that. You want to just go out and do something, but you know at the same time you’ve got to protect everybody around and make sure they’re healthy.”

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There were limitations that Kleber experienced after he returned to the lineup — including pain and difficulty to jump and sprint. Now, he is 'fully healthy' as the start of the 2021-22 regular season nears. 

“I could still go up and down – it was painful,” Kleber said. “But the really jumping and sprinting part was tough to do, so it kind of slowed me down a little bit.

“I’m fully healthy now and I’m happy I can move and run again the way I want to. And I think that’s the number one thing for everybody on the team – just staying healthy – because we have a really great roster of great guys. And we all can play basketball. We just got to stay healthy and keep working.”

The Luka Doncic-led Mavericks plan to start the season with Dwight Powell in the frontcourt alongside Kristaps Porzigis. Kleber will still play a pivotal role, whether he's coming off the bench or deployed in the starting lineup. And hopefully, he'll do so fully healthy.