DALLAS — As the Dallas Mavericks reconvened on the practice court Friday there was a noticeable absentee after the team announced the day prior that big man Brandan Wright is out indefinitely due to a small, non-displaced fracture to his left shoulder.
Although surgery is not anticipated at this time, there’s no timetable for the athletic Wright to return after sustaining the injury Tuesday during practice. That means Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle will have to call on the rest of the big men on the roster to step up during preseason play.
“Plug other guys in,” Carlisle matter-of-factly said when asked how the Mavs will make up for the loss of Wright for the foreseeable future.
“Now [DeJuan] Blair becomes more at the forefront,” the coach added. “Sarge [Bernard James] has got to be ready. Sam [Dalembert] has got to keep playing like he did the other night. And it gives guys like [Renaldo] Balkman and [Fab] Melo a chance to get some more minutes in the preseason.”
The lefty missed the entire 2009-10 season after undergoing surgery on the same shoulder. After re-signing with the Mavs in the offseason following two promising seasons in Dallas, Wright reintroduced himself to the home faithful with a team-high 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting during a 94-92 loss Monday to New Orleans in the exhibition opener. He then sat out the Mavs’ 95-90 win Wednesday night in Memphis with what was believed to be simply a sore left shoulder.
The 6-foot-10 former North Carolina standout finished last season strong while averaging a career-high 8.5 points and 4.1 rebounds during his 18.0 minutes of work in 64 appearances. He also entered training camp looking to challenge Dalembert for minutes at center while backing up 11-time All-Star power forward Dirk Nowitzki at the 4 after adding 12-15 pounds of muscle in the offseason.
Now, with six more exhibition contests still on deck, the Mavs will try to get the former No. 8 overall pick by Charlotte in the ’07 draft healthy before the season opener against Atlanta on Oct. 30.
“Look, if it’s going to happen, this isn’t the worst time,” Carlisle said of Wright’s injury. “He’s got a little time to heal … and it’s going to be evaluated weekly, so it could have been a lot worse.
“We lose one of our best players, but he’ll be back. This is a Mother Nature thing. Nobody knows exactly how long it will be. If Mother Nature is kind, it will resolve quicker, but we’ll see. We’ll let you guys know weekly where it’s at as he’ll be evaluated after today. He’s upbeat about it and we’ve just got to keep pressing forward with the guys we have available.”
The Mavericks (1-1) 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.
Note: FOX Sports Southwest, the television home of the Dallas Mavericks, will introduce the new players on the team’s 2013-2014 roster in a three-part series.
The second episode of the One-On-One With The Dallas Mavericks series will feature Monta Ellis, Ricky Ledo and Devin Harris, and will air Friday at 6:00 p.m. CT.
FOX Sports Southwest Mavericks play-by-play announcer Mark Followill and Mavericks radio play-by-play voice Chuck Cooperstein host the series.
The show will give fans an opportunity to get to know the players as the team embarks on the season. Each episode will provide in-depth looks at the featured players from their childhoods to how they became Dallas Mavericks.