The Dallas Mavericks were going to be a dogfight to defend their playoff spot even if everything went right for them, and based off of their media day availability, they won’t be running at peak capacity for some time.
First, as covered here earlier, ESPN’s Mavs insider Tim McMahon clarified that their big money acquisition from a year ago, Chandler Parsons, had a minor hybrid microfracture operation. The Mavs can call it minor, but as fans of many players can attest, a “minor” knee surgery is the NBA equivalent of MLB’s TNSTAAPP (there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect). McMahon writes that Parsons is hopeful he’ll be on the floor by the time the regular season starts.
Dallas doubled down on knee surgeries when they heavily pursued Wes Matthews in the offseason, who already had a torn Achilles by the time he hit the market. The team felt comfortable enough with his long-term prospects to invest in him, and thus they’re taking the long view with getting him back on the court. As with nearly all injuries, there had been positive reports about how soon he would return, but today, coach Rick Carlisle pumped the breaks:
Rick Carlisle ruled out Wesley Matthews being ready for the opener, although he knows Matthews won't want to hear it.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) September 28, 2015
Parsons may be ready for opener, Matthews maybe by Christmas, according to Rick Carlisle, declining to be pinned by more specific timetable.
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) September 28, 2015
With Deron Williams and JaVale McGee also dealing with injuries and Monta Ellis now in Indiana, it appears the Mavs won’t be easing the burden on Dirk Nowitzki anytime soon. In some ways, this resembles the injuries that happened around the aging Big 3 in Boston, who were forced to pick up the slack when Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Jeff Green and others went down. At least they had the fortune of playing in the East though. Carlisle, Nowitzki and the Mavs will have no such luxury.