After going 2-6 through the first eight games of the season, the Dallas Mavericks are getting exactly what they need.
When Dallas swung for the fences and missed once again this past offseason, they re-salvaged their summer by piecing together a roster that was worthy enough for Dirk Nowitzki to remain in Dallas for the rest of his career.
The young stud was now there in Harrison Barnes and they got their anchor in the middle in Andrew Bogut. Dirk and Deron were back to join Matthews in the starting lineup. Younger pieces in Curry, Powell, Anderson, and Acy finished out the roster. But one question still remained…
How healthy will the team stay throughout the season?
Although health is something you can never predict, Dallas didn’t start off on the best of notes.
In the last preseason game against the Denver Nuggets, Devin Harris injured his foot after breaking an orthotic in his shoe during the game. Looking to have a prominent role off the bench, Harris found himself sidelined for at least three weeks to start the season.
Even though Harris isn’t a starter, missing his playmaking and defense in the second unit has been huge over the first eight games of the season.
Then there’s Dirk Nowitzki’s Achilles.
After playing in the season opener in Indianapolis, Nowitzki found himself sitting out the next two games with an undisclosed illness and soreness in his Achilles. After coming back for the game in Utah, Nowitzki saw himself only playing the first half at home against the Blazers.
After leaving that game due to soreness in his Achilles, Dallas decided to shut the Big German down after the game as Carlisle announced in his post game press conference that Nowitzki would be out for at least a week to rest his sore Achilles.
In the same game that Dirk didn’t play the second half in, Deron Williams went to the sideline limping as he injured his calf. Although it was overshadowed by the Nowitzki news, Williams has now sat out the past three games due to the injury with no set timetable.
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This sent Dallas to battle over the past three games without three of their main rotation players where they surprised some and went 2-1. The one loss came on Wednesday night when Rick Carlisle decided to rest Andrew Bogut, Wesley Matthews, and J.J. Barea (totaling six players out) in Golden State.
On the second game of a back-to-back, Carlisle gave his trusted veterans a night off as they have been racking up the minutes to start the season. Matthews (37 mpg), Barea (33 mpg) and Williams (35 mpg prior to his injury) are all logging heavy minutes that simply can’t be sustained throughout the season.
Now the Dallas Mavericks are getting exactly what they need…a four day break.
After their game in Golden State on Wednesday night (November 9th), the Mavericks take the next four days off before playing the New York Knicks on November 14th.
When Dirk Nowitzki addressed us reporters at his locker after the game last Friday against Portland, he specifically referenced this four-day break as a time for him to be re-evaluated for his sore Achilles. Friday, November 11th, marks a week that he was originally slated to miss and be re-evaluated at.
So if everything comes back good, we could see Nowitzki suiting up in New York on Monday, but I wouldn’t bank on it. If there is one player the Mavs need to be extra cautious with, it’s Dirk Nowitzki and I wouldn’t be surprised if he missed that East coast road trip to return at home against Memphis on the 18th.
Either way, the break is great for Nowitzki as he isn’t missing anymore games as he recovers over these next four days.
This break obviously gives Deron Williams and Devin Harris a chance to get back closer to 100% also. With Williams more of a safer bet to be ready for Monday, I would expect Harris to follow suit not too much longer after that.
The bottom line is the Mavericks are an older team and it has shown over the first couple weeks of the season. Trusted veterans are playing through injuries while logging heavy minutes while three of the core pieces aren’t even playing.
A four-day break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Dallas Mavericks.