DENVER – Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. is having difficulties getting back on the court after sitting out the Nov. 24 game against Boston with a sprained right wrist, and then re-aggravating it four games later in a game against Portland when he landed on it awkwardly.
Thus, when the Mavs (15-13) face the Denver Nuggets (20-9) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Pepsi Center, Smith will be sidelined for the sixth time in the last seven games. But he is thankful for one positive note.
“It’s nothing wrong with (the wrist) structurally,” Smith said.
Smith is listed as day-to-day, and he doesn’t know when he’ll be healthy enough to play again.
“It’s super frustrating,” Smith said. “I tried to rush back in the Phoenix game and obviously I wasn’t myself, so it’s just a tough situation.
“You don’t really want to sit out, but you don’t really want to go out and play and not be at 100 percent, because there’s no excuses whenever you go out and play. So it’s tough to sit out right now, but it’s just something I know I’ve got to do.”
Coach Rick Carlisle believes there’s a way for Smith to play without having to worry about jumping and landing on his hand and re-aggravating his wrist again.
“There’s a way to avoid it,” Carlisle said. “Land on your feet! The wrist is going to get better.
“Look, he played for a year-and-a-quarter without injuring his wrist, so don’t tell me it can’t be done. I don’t believe that.”
For now, rest is the ideal medicine for Smith, who just wants to make sure he doesn’t have any setbacks whenever he returns to the court. A Dec. 13 game against Phoenix, when he had four points and five turnovers in 27 uneventful minutes, taught him to be patient while dealing with his wrist injury.
“It makes the process a little longer,” Smith said. “I just want to have it 100 percent before I go out and play.”
“Look, we need him, but we need him being able to play his game and being able to shoot the ball,” Carlisle said. “We got to hope Mother Nature is kind to us.
“He’s doing the work, he’s doing the rehab work, he’s keeping himself ready and we’ll go from there.”