The Dallas Mavericks face some uncertainty coming up with Christian Wood (thumb) sidelined.
Wood has been relatively healthy all season long, missing just four games before this recent injury. The Mavs are 1-3 in games without Wood before the stretch, and are now 2-4 after splitting the first two meetings with him out.
Despite Wood's absence, the Mavericks remain at No. 11 in this week's power rankings from Sports Illustrated.
"Dallas has struggled mightily this month and now Christian Wood, its second-best player, is out," SI writes. "The Mavericks lost to the Hawks on Wednesday by eight, which was the game in which Wood fractured his thumb. They rebounded a few nights later and beat the Heat by 15 behind 34 points from Luka Dončić. Dallas managed just 98 points in a double-digit loss to the Clippers on Sunday. The Mavs have an easy-enough schedule ahead against the Wizards, Suns and Jazz."
The Mavs are in the hustle and bustle in the Western Conference standings, sitting in fifth place at 25-23. However, if the team struggles with Wood out, the Mavs could crumble and fall back out of the playoff picture. The 13th-place Portland Trail Blazers are just 2.5 games back of the Mavs, making these upcoming games that more crucial.
Tonight, the Mavs face the Washington Wizards, fresh after the Rui Hachimura trade, at home. Then, the team travels to face the Phoenix Suns (Thu.) and Utah Jazz (Sat.).
You can follow Jeremy Brener on Twitter @JeremyBrener.