Dwight Powell is progressing from his strained left hamstring, but his status for Wednesday’s regular-season opener remains in limbo.
Powell spent Saturday’s practice continuing his rehab and coach Rick Carlisle said the injured big man’s first action of the 2019-20 season is not yet known.
“Powell is still in the rehab process,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s making progress – but not there yet. So that’s where we are.”
Powell injured the hamstring early in training camp and missed all five preseason games. He has not practiced since Oct. 5.
“He would need to have some practice time,” Carlisle said about what would be required before Powell could see game action. “How many days, I can’t say for sure. But we’re not at a point where we can talk about his comeback being imminent.”
Powell said earlier this week that the Mavericks stellar medical staff is doing “everything under the sun” to get him ready, but the sixth-year big man gave no clues about a potential return date.
Said Carlisle: “Monday’s going to tell a lot. He had an aggressive day today. Tomorrow (Sunday) is an off day. We’ll see where he is Monday and we’ll go from there. I’m not going to say he’s not playing Wednesday for sure, because I don’t know that.”
There was some good news on the injury front as Seth Curry (knee contusion) and Dorian Finney-Smith (hip flexor) both returned to practice on Saturday with no limitations.
The Mavericks allowed well over 100 points in their first three preseason games, all losses.
They allowed under 90 points in their final two preseason games, both wins.
So what gives?
“Just more presence, more force,” Carlisle said. “We played better, together. The game against Washington is going to be very challenging. They score a lot of points. They got a lot of 3-point shooters. They stretch you out and drive you. So it’s going to be a huge challenge.”
The Wizards won’t have the injured John Wall, but they do have Bradley Beal, who Carlisle called a “top, MVP-caliber player.”
SOMETHING NOT SO GOOD
If there’s a significant problem area that wouldn’t go away in the preseason, it was turnovers.
They averaged 20.2 turnovers in their five exhibition games, 23rd in the league – and an unacceptable number by any coaching definition.
“It’s an emphasis every day, it was an emphasis today,” Carlisle said. “It’s been a problem for us in the preseason. So we got to do better with it. It’s going to be an ongoing topic of discussion.”
Carlisle added that he prefers to think of it as a potential for improvement, not an overriding negative.
“It’s a ball-security discussion, not a don’t-turn-it-over discussion,” he said. “I don’t like dealing in negatives. I like dealing in affirmative messages. And that’s ball security. Take care of it. And we can certainly do better.”
ONE FOCUS ONLY
The Mavericks have had some lousy starts to the past few seasons, fighting from behind after falling well below .500 in the season’s early weeks.
That isn’t what Carlisle is worried about, however.
“Focusing on the Washington game,” he said. “That’s all I can tell you.
“I’m not going to get into a big dissertation about the big picture. We know we want to take a big step forward. It becomes more challenging every year because top to bottom the league is even.
“There’s less and less of a competitive advantage in talent levels. You got to be really on point and efficient and tied together and those are the big things we’ve been talking about since the opening meeting.”