MINNEAPOLIS – Josh Green was in the midst of playing the best basketball of his young NBA career. Now, he unfortunately has to hit the reset button.
Green suffered a right elbow sprain during the Dec. 9 home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. As painful as that was, now the Dallas Mavericks’ third-year guard has to sit and watch – and get treatment for the injury – during a period where he had blossomed to the point where he had become a valuable piece in coach Jason Kidd’s rotation.
“It sucks when it was and how it happened,” Green said after Monday morning’s shootaround at the Target Center. “I felt like I was playing well, but this is one of those things. I’d rather have it now than when we’re about to go into the playoffs.
“As a team our goal is to go far in the playoffs. So for me, it’s just making sure I’m ready to go.”
Green said he probably won’t play in the Mavs’ remaining three games on this four-game road trip, and added that “I don’t think it’ll be any time too soon” when he’ll be able to play again. That includes sitting out Monday’s and Wednesday’s games against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and also Friday’s contest at Houston.
Clearly one of the Mavs’ energy players off the bench, Green has missed the past five games. But he already has been staying busy while his elbow heals.
“This time now is the perfect time for me to be able to work on my game,’’ Green said. “Work on my left hand right now and then make sure I’m ready to go whenever that time is.”
On the injury itself, Green said: “I went for a steal and my arm got caught between one of their player’s arm and kind of tweaked out of position.”
“It’s not anything that I’m concerned about,” Green said. “It’s just taking the right steps to make sure that I’m back on the court feeling good again.
“It’s been hurting. The training staff will revisit it in a couple of weeks or so, and then we’ll look at it again.”
HARDAWAY SITS: Mavs guard Tim Hardaway Jr. sat out Monday’s game with a non-Covid illness.
It’s just another blow for Hardaway, who suffered a season-ending fracture of the fifth metatarsal on his left foot during a game against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 25. But the fact that Hardaway’s dad — former NBA player Tim Hardaway Sr. – endured some injuries himself during his career and could help his son overcome the difficult times.
“The game is about ups and down and you’re fighting to be consistent,” Kidd said. “And to have someone like his dad — a hall of famer whose been through this multiple times — to be able to lean on him is probably an advantage.
“You can see that he’s playing at a high level for us since he’s been in the starting lineup, but injuries do take a mental toll on someone. His dad has had injuries and understands how to come back from injuries and also how to play at a high level. So for him to have someone like that in his corner is big.”
Kidd said he has talked to Hardaway and shared with him what he sees and trying to put him in a position to be successful on both ends of the court.
“There’s 82 games, everyone wants to win the game that they’re involved in,” Kidd said. “In that moment we’re all fighting for consistency.
“Just really talking to him about what I see and trying to help him be patient, because he really wants to help the team on both ends.”
BRIEFLY: Forward Reggie Bullock historically doesn’t really get his game in gear until sometime in December. It’s something even Bullock has admitted, although he can’t pinpoint as to why his game doesn’t round into shape until sometimes in December. “We all want December to be in October for Reggie,” coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s a slow starter. I got to talk to the coaches that have had him before. You can see it starting to come. He’s starting to play well for us on both ends. We always want every shot to go in, but it just shows that he’s human and it is around December and January that he starts to play at a high level for us. It’s a marathon, it’s about being consistent and a pro, and that’s who Reggie is on both ends of the floor. The only thing he cares about is winning, which is very cool for someone who is maybe not making shots, but he finds other ways to have an impact on the game.” . . . Before Monday’s game Kidd was asked about Kemba Walker possibly playing more minutes alongside Luka Doncic, especially since Walker scored 32 points last Saturday in Cleveland. Kidd said: “That’s an interesting question, and you (media) guys always ask that. I’m a little confused of ‘play with Luka?’ There’s other guys on the team, too. So yeah, he’s going to play with Luka. Luka plays 40 minutes a night. He’s going to play with Luka. Play more? We’ll see how the game shakes out. Let’s not just ask about Luka and Kemba, alright?” . . . In addition to Green, the Mavs were without Maxi Kleber (right hamstring tear), Dwight Powell (left thigh contusion) and Hardaway. Then, during Monday’s game, Dorian Finney-Smith suffered a right adductor strain. . .After losing to the Timberwolves, 116-106, on Monday in Minnesota, the Timberwolves will host the Mavs again on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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