DALLAS — With his team preparing for its third exhibition game on the hardwood floor at American Airlines Center, Dallas Mavericks big man Brandan Wright worked off to the side as he continues to rehab his way back onto the court.
Last Tuesday, Wright sustained a small, non-displaced fracture to his left shoulder during the Mavericks’ practice. The injury came just a day after leading the Mavs with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting during the team’s 94-92 preseason debut loss to New Orleans. Now, after missing the entire 2009-10 season due to surgery on the very same shoulder, Wright will try to battle his way back into action in time to help the squad when it opens the regular season Oct. 30 at home against Atlanta.
“This is nothing compared to that,” Wright said while recalling that injury-riddled ’09-10 campaign. “It’s not even the same type of injury. It’s not soft tissue, it’s bone, so it’s not a close comparison. … You know, back then I was a younger player and still trying to get my feet grounded and get myself established. Now I know what I can do and I know what I need to do to get back. When I get back I’ll be confident. There won’t be any dropoff. I don’t really have a timetable, I don’t know, but like I said I’m taking it day by day.”
With no timetable set for the 6-foot-10 big man’s return, the Mavericks (1-1) continued to remain focused on improving this preseason while honing in on containing No. 2 overall draft pick Victor Oladipo and the 0-2 Magic. And for Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, that means focusing on playing an up-tempo style while continuing to emphasize efficient play.
The Mavs cut down on their turnovers after surrendering 28 giveaways in the exhibition opener against New Orleans, reducing that number to 16 against Memphis in a 95-90 road win two days later. The coach will look for continued improvement in that category while trying to trim the roster from 20 to 15.
“We want to work on keeping the turnovers down,” Carlisle said. “You know, tempo is important. We want to keep pace whether the ball goes in or not, continue to look at combinations and individual guys, and evaluate the roster and positions and possible guys that could make the team and things like that.”
Note: The Mavericks return to action Monday night at American Airlines Center, hosting the Orlando Magic. The game will air locally on TXA 21 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.