SALT LAKE CITY – Davis Bertāns isn’t exactly sure what happened to his right knee to cause the inflammation that cost him all of training camp and the Mavericks’ three preseason games.
Actually, that’s not entirely true.
He knows the root cause all too well.
“I had two ACL surgeries in the past, so things tend to happen sometimes,” Bertāns said before the Mavericks closed out the preseason with a 115-101 win at Utah late Friday night. “So I really don’t know what – sometimes, stuff just happens.”
“I had a lot of stuff done to that knee in the past so sometimes it may seem like nothing, but some odd move can cause a reaction.”
Bertāns didn’t feel like he overexerted himself in the offseason. He played a few World Cup qualifying games for Latvia, teaming with Kristaps Porzingis to give their country a chance for a better seeding in the 2023 event.
And when he arrived in Dallas for some pick-up games with teammates and the start of training camp, everything was fine, he said.
But then, soreness cropped up. And it was diagnosed as right knee effusion. The Mavericks have been taking a cautious approach with his rehab.
When asked if the 6-10 forward was headed for an extended training camp or if he might be ready by Wednesday’s season opener, coach Jason Kidd said:
“We’ll see. He feels better. We’ll take it day-by-day. This is a marathon. Hopefully he’s feeling better over the weekend and can start doing things. But as of now, he’s going to be out.”
Bertāns had a pair of anterior cruciate ligament procedures earlier in his career before he came to the NBA. Now entering his seventh NBA season, he has been relatively durable, playing at least 54 games in each of the last six seasons.
Now, he’s been working slowly at alleviating the soreness.
“I’m taking one day at a time, doing what the trainers tell me to do and the coaches,” Bertāns said. “Once it feels better I can start ramping up. I really don’t have an exact timeline right now.”
The saving grace for the Mavericks is that they have strength in numbers, particularly at the forward positions with Christian Wood, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell all able to fill that spot.
They also have shooters like Reggie Bullock and Tim Hardaway Jr. that can serve as court-spreaders, which is Bertāns strength.
Last season, Bertans hit 36 percent from 3-point range in 22 regular-season games after joining the Mavericks in the Porzingis trade. He also shot 37.3 percent from beyond the arc while playing in all 18 playoff games.
“We know how deep the roster is on this team and everybdy’s ready to play, so I don’t feel any rush from either the coaches or the staff,” he said. “Just make sure I’m healthy and ready to help.”
Of course, no player wants to miss time, either. But the big picture remains in the forefront for Bertāns and the Mavericks.
“I’d rather play more down the line than rush right now,” he said.