The Mavs’ prized offseason acquisition, shooting guard Wesley Matthews, could be back in action as soon as this preseason, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said.

“I don’t know that he’s been completely ruled out,” Carlisle said, “so it could be possible. But I don’t know that for sure.”

Matthews, who spent the summer recovering from a ruptured Achilles he suffered in March, has maintained since signing with the team that he’ll be ready by opening night. Understandably, some might not have taken “Iron Man” for his word, as players who suffered similar injuries in the past took up to a year or longer to fully recover. But advances in medicine combined with Matthews’ incredible work ethic have led us to the potential end of his road to recovery, and the beginning of his career with the Mavericks.

The news surfaced following perhaps the most promising 3-on-3 game that’s ever been played in the American Airlines Center. Among those in participation: Matthews, Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams, and JaVale McGee, potentially four of the most important contributors to the team. Each has dealt with health issues this summer. Rumors have flown regarding the severity of each’s injuries and the timetable for the players’ return. But today, one by one, each player put to rest the notion that they’re “a ways away from being a ways away,” as the saying goes.

Parsons drove the lane and threw down a monstrous dunk, then laid in an alley-oop lob on the next possession. Matthews posted up anyone and everyone, scoring five straight points to win his team one game. Williams rained in threes and ran pick-and-rolls with ease. McGee soared through the air, swatting shots and gobbling up rebounds. They didn’t look any different from Charlie Villanueva and Jarrid Famous, the two healthiest of the bunch. This wasn’t a scrimmage between a bunch of injured players. This was a game between guys who are close.

How close?

“Our hope is to get some of these guys in some live action very soon,” Rick Carlisle said. “Possibly tomorrow, but I’m not very sure. We’re behind the curve in terms of where we want to be with everything, but Mother Nature has things where they are, so we’ve got to do the right things at the right pace.”

Regarding Williams, the coach said it would be a positive thing to see the point guard get into a preseason game, but at this point his status for the remainder of the exhibition season is still unknown.

“It would be great,” he said. “I told you guys earlier in the week that he was gonna be held out. That’s still my belief. But the fact that he’s out there doing things and feeling a lot better is a very good sign.”

McGee, meanwhile, said the Mavs haven’t given him a clear timetable on his return from a left tibial stress fracture. The 3-on-3 game was his first real action in six months, and the big man said afterward he wasn’t as tired as he thought he might be, but credited bike and pool work for keeping him in shape this offseason.

“I’m just really excited to be getting healthier and healthier, so as soon as they clear me to play I’m going 100 percent,” he said.

Today gave us an exciting glimpse at what this Mavericks team could and will become once its brightest stars are back in action. But, more importantly, it was an awfully strong hint that this Mavs team will be healthy sooner than we all might have thought.

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