Mavs big man Brandan Wright practices for 1st time since fracturing shoulder

DALLAS — Although he isn’t expected to be available when the Dallas Mavericks step into the Rose Garden Saturday night for a battle against the 16-3 Portland Trail Blazers, big man Brandan Wright could make his long-awaited season debut very soon.

Friday, Wright went through his first full-contact practice since he sustained a small, non-displaced fracture to his left shoulder after leading the Mavericks (12-8) with 14 points against New Orleans in the preseason opener on Oct. 7. The 6-foot-10 former North Carolina standout now hopes to make a return to game action sometime in the near future as the Mavs play their next three games on the West Coast.

“It was good,” Wright said after going through his first practice. “My body feels good. I mean, I was a little rusty, but everything felt good. … I need to get my legs up under me. I need to get in better shape, especially for what I need to do out there to help the team win. It’s going to take me a little bit. Not too long, though.”

He added: “Whenever I feel good, whenever my legs feel good and I’m comfortable out there, I’ll be ready to go. … I was running well, moving well and moving well laterally. You know, I was fast and able to jump still. I’ve got a little work to do, especially on the shoulder. With me around the basket, I think that’s probably the toughest thing.”

Wright re-signed with the Mavericks this summer after posting career numbers nearly across the board last season, averaging 8.5 points on 59.7 percent shooting, grabbing down 4.1 rebounds and registering 1.2 blocked shots in his 18.0 minutes per game. He’s expected to add depth to both the center and power forward positions for a frontline that already features 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and new addition Samuel Dalembert.

Still, with no timetable set for the eighth overall selection in the 2007 draft to return to action, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn’t planning on rushing the big man back too soon.

“B-Wright looks fine,” Carlisle said. “He looks great. He’ll be ready when he’s ready. He’s getting closer, and that’s all I can tell you.”

Note: The Mavericks will now head to Portland for a matchup Saturday against the Trail Blazers. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 9 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Saturday, Dec. 14, against O.J. Mayo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 91-83 victory in Milwaukee back on Nov. 9. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.