DALLAS — Just hours after falling to 1-2 in the preseason following a 102-94 home defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic, the Dallas Mavericks received a bit of welcoming news Tuesday morning with the sight of starting point guard Jose Calderon back on the court.
Calderon, who has been hampered by a strained left hamstring, has yet to touch the court with his teammates during the Mavericks’ first three exhibition outings. And although he has already been ruled out for Wednesday night’s contest at Indiana, the 32-year-old veteran is likely to make his long-awaited debut with his new team Saturday night when the Mavs take on the Charlotte Bobcats in Greensboro, N.C.
“I did everything with the team and I feel good,” the eight-year NBA veteran said. “It was a little bit slowly early, but no limitations at all — nothing.”
“He’s going to be fine,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added after his first-string floor general returned to practice. “He went through about half of the things we did today, and we’ve just got to introduce him back into some real practice. Hold him out (Wednesday night) and just do some precautionary work tomorrow in shootaround before the game, and then as we go along here we’ll get him more and more into it. … He should do fine. He’s done what he’s needed to do to get himself back feeling great, and now we’ve got to get him back into hard work on the court. He’s been doing hard work off the court in the underwater treadmill and things like that. Now he’s got to pick it up and we’re on track.”
With Calderon still sidelined, it didn’t take long for the Mavs to find themselves in a 20-point hole Monday night against the Magic. Now, with the Spaniard expected to return in the coming days, he will immediately try to jell offensively with 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and fellow new addition Monta Ellis.
Calderon will also try to boost a Dallas offense that has seen its turnovers steadily decrease from 28 to 16 to 12 in the Mavs’ first three exhibition showings.
“We’re having problems with defense I think. We’ve been working on that to get better, but on offense for sure I can help,” Calderon said after watching things unfold from the bench. “We’ve got some good minutes when we’re moving the ball and trying to do the right things, but we’re just slow a little bit getting up the floor and we’re holding the ball too much. We’re trying to make plays for our teammates, so I’ll be there just helping on that and just trying to get everybody in the right spots. Sometimes it took us a little bit too long to get to our spots. More than that I think these guys know how to play. We’ve got a lot of different lineups out there, but every day is going to be better.”