Shawn Marion left the Trail Blazers game early with pain in his left knee and upon investigation found a problem.
Eddie Sefko reports for the Dallas Morning News:
“Marion said he knew something was wrong with his left knee when he got to the bench after taking a short shot and getting hit by teammate Elton Brand.
‘EB kind of hit me coming on my way down and it buckled, coming down on the shot,’ Marion reflected.
‘I thought it was OK, but when I sat down, that stuff really started hurting,’’ he added after the Mavericks’ practiced Tuesday. ‘And when I started walking back to the locker room, it started hurting even more. I knew it was something wrong. It didn’t feel right.’
Marion, diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament, will miss at least the next three games.”
Three games is not an eternity and clearly, the Mavs have the depth to cover for the Matrix. In fact, it will be very revealing how the team performs because in many ways Marion is the glue holding this team together. He hasn’t been doing a lot of any one thing, other than his usual stalwart defense, but he’s been all over the court.
Marion did it all last year and although he’s only been averaging 8 ppg, once again he leads the team in rebounding with 9 rpg and also has been contributing 3.3 assists and 1.25 blocks. And did I mention defense?
With Delonte West gone and Marion out, the Mavs are fortunate to have some elite defenders in Elton Brand and Dahntay Jones. Vince Carter has stepped up his defensive effort considerably and the young backcourt has been using quickness and athleticism to rattle opponents. The Mavs are in a much better position to cover for Marion than last years when the departures of Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson left the team without its best defenders and Marion was forced to cover the opponents’ best scorer night in and night out, a situation made even worse with Delonte West missing a large chunk of the season due to injury.
Rookie sensation Jae Crowder is likely to start in Marion’s place and Crowder has quickly become a fan favorite with a very Matrix-like game. Behind Crowder, Vince Carter may spend time at the 3 and he has been playing well on both ends of the floor. Dahntay Jones has not made a significant impact but certainly has the defensive chops and thankfully, there is no void in scoring that will hurt the team.
Prior to his absence due to a calf injury, Chris Kaman had led the team in rebounding during the preseason and he will need to reassert himself as will the other Mav bigs. Kaman along with Brand and Troy Murphy need to start cleaning the glass, especially since it’s likely the team won’t continue shooting over 60% every night.
The Matrix will be missed but thanks to the aggressive play of new and old alike, the Mavs should continue to prosper.