The Dallas Mavericks return home to face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night after losing four of five on their most recent road trip. They were shorthanded in every game, but Dallas appears set to get some reinforcements back as they return home.
Josh Green practiced on the road trip, and he is expected to return against the Hawks after missing 20 games with an elbow injury. Dorian Finney-Smith has been working his way back from a groin injury, and he returned to practice on Jan. 17. The 6’7 wing is eager to return to game action, and he wants to play on Wednesday night as well.
Doe-Doe has not played since Dec. 19 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He tweaked his groin two nights prior and tried to play through the injury, but the Mavericks' defensive ace was unable to do so. Finney-Smith missed 14 straight games, and he is hopeful to return on Jan. 18.
Dorian Finney-Smith returns to practice: Hopeful to play as Dallas Mavericks host Hawks
Is one practice enough after missing a month of action? Finney-Smith made it clear he wants to play, but the team could have other ideas. They desperately need his defense on the floor, but the Mavericks will take a long-term view. Dallas must have him fully healthy in the playoffs. Head coach Jason Kidd noted that both Green and Doe-Doe practiced on Tuesday, but Tim Hardaway Jr. did not with his ankle injury.
The Mavs had a 112.5 defensive rating on Dec. 19 and sat 16th in the NBA on the night Finney-Smith was injured. They are now 25th at 114.7 after a month-long stretch of being 27th in defensive rating at 119.5. Maxi Kleber and Josh Green were also out as Dallas played without three of its best defenders. Luka Doncic kept the team afloat, but he had to take on a massive offensive workload to do so.
Even if Dorian Finney-Smith misses Wednesday’s game, he should return in short order. That is good news for the Dallas Mavericks as they attempt to climb into the top four in the Western Conference and make another deep playoff run. Stay tuned to see if they can accomplish it.