Dwight Powell use to sprint into the Mavericks’ locker room as fast as he could take the corner coming from the training-staff area.
On Wednesday, he was a little slower. But when your right leg has a cast on it and you need a scooter to get around, that’s to be expected.
Powell is spending as much time as he can with the Mavericks now that he’s more than a week removed from surgery to fix a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
On Wednesday, he talked with media members for the first time since the injury happened on Jan. 21. It was six days later when he had surgery.
The 6-10 Powell said he knew when he suffered the non-contact injury against the Clippers that something very serious had happened.
“I remember J.J. (Barea) and Wes (Matthews) both telling me stories about when it happened to them,” said Powell as he glanced at the orange-colored cast that runs from his toes to just below the right kneecap. “They looked back because they thought somebody kicked them. It literally felt like somebody kicked me in the back of the leg. I looked back and nobody was there. I knew right away.”
Powell, who estimated he has about another three weeks before he’ll get out of the cast, said he did considerable checking around after suffering the injury to decide who would do the surgery to repair the torn Achilles.
He settled on Dr. Bob Anderson in Green Bay, Wisc., who has done major surgeries on baseball’s Derek Jeter and NFL defensive back Richard Sherman, among others.
“I have some friends in the medical field that spoke highly of him,” Powell said. “I watched some of his lectures and some of the things that he’s done in the field, especially specifically with PARS [Percutaneous Achilles Repair System] Technique – the surgery that I had done on my Achilles – and I just thought on it and he was the option that I chose.”
It will be sometime next season before Powell will be able to return to action. But he’s already showing what kind of diligent rehab worker he will be, coach Rick Carlisle said. He doesn’t know how to go half speed in anything pertaining to his job.
“His spirits are very good,” he said. “However, this is one of the most optimistic and upbeat people you’re ever going to meet in your life. He’ll find a way to take any situation of adversity and turn it into an opportunity.
“He’s on the exercise bike with the arms, just doing the arms part. He’s doing upper-body lifting, etc. Obviously, he can’t do anything with that foot and lower leg area for a while, which is challenging for him because the guy springs out of bed every morning like he’s launched out of a rocket. He’ll do great with his rehab and his entire situation. I don’t have any doubt he’ll make it all the way back.”
Powell said he’s fending off any cabin fever that might set in by immersing himself in his rehab. He was back in the weight room and doing whatever workouts he was allowed to do as soon as he got clearance.
He’s trying to treat the injury as motivation. And he’s also trying to help the Mavericks anyway he can while recovering.
“Everybody has bumps in the road,” he said. “You just got to keep working. I’m still around. I’m not dead. I try to be around as much as I can. I can’t travel just yet. But as soon as I can, I will.
“You got to make do with what I have left. I got one good leg, arms, a mind. I can find ways to continue to get better whether I’m on the court or not. So hopefully I can still find ways to help this team as well. We got a great locker room, a great group of guys and a great staff that’s done a good job of putting the right pieces together.”
Homecoming for Grizz coach: Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins is one of the youngest head coaches in NBA history at 35.
He grew up in Dallas, where he attended St. Mark’s High School. He said it will always be special coming back to American Airlines Center.
“I used to be a partial season ticket holder in section 311 with my mom, so I used to come to tons of games,” Jenkins said before Wednesday’s game. “I grew up with the Triple-Js and Steve Nash and Dirk (Nowitzki) and all those guys, guys that I watched growing up and it helped me fall in love with the game of basketball. It’s always special coming back here.”
So who did Jenkins most closely identify with growing up?
“Dirk was my guy growing up,” he said of the recently retired Nowitzki, who is six years older than Jenkins. “It’s interesting. I got a lot of flak for it, Dirk and Tim Duncan, two arch rivals who actually are really good friends, were my two favorite guys growing up. Just the ultimate pros. Him and Nash were great, but Dirk was my guy growing up and I’m so happy for him, the legacy he’s left here, the championship that he brought here, it was a special career.”
Injury update: The Mavericks were without J.J. Barea (left ankle) and Seth Curry (left knee) Wednesday night.
Both had been listed as questionable earlier in the day but were ruled out a couple hours before the game.
Asked if both were in day-to-day situations, Carlisle said: “I hope so. They’re both doing better, but unavailable tonight.”
The Mavericks will be without Luka Doncic (right ankle) for at least two more games.