As of Wednesday morning, the Dallas Mavericks were still hopeful about the results of a Tuesday night MRI on center Samuel Dalembert’s left shoulder injury.
And indeed, Dalembert participated in shootaround and plans on playing tonight in Toronto.
“Hopefully he’s available, but right now, I couldn’t call that,” coach Rick Carlisle told the DMNews last night. “I’d say he’s more questionable than likely. He’s feeling a little better but we’re going to get things checked out and make sure. He hasn’t missed games this year (due to injury). We’ll see what the diagnostic study says and go from there.”
The "diagnostic study'' apparently revealed a bruise and nothing worse.
Dalembert left Monday’s win at Cleveland with 10:42 remaining in the third quarter. Dallas has called it a shoulder "strain.'' DB.com injury expert Jeff Stotts notes that in Sam's 12-year NBA career he's sustained four injuries to his right shoulder (one sprain, three strains) but no problems with his left shoulder. None of those right-shoulder injuries, by the way, cost him any playing time. And it appears that record will continue.
Dallas operates with center-by-committee (photos here courtesy Mavs.com) but is best when Dalembert -- averaging six points, six rebounds and a block per game in his 20 minutes - serves as the starter. Dallas' record when Sam starts is now 19-10.
We'll monitor this all day here on DB.com and update you as well tonight on the FOX Sports Southwest telecast (including thoughts about the insurance call-up of Ricky Ledo). I'll be part of the team that brings you Mavs-at-Toronto starting at 5:30.
And one storyline will be "Goldilocks and The Three Centers.''
Listen to Dirk Nowitzki's evaluations of the members of the "committee'':
DeJuan Blair "is a little undersized. He's been phenomenal for us this year, but he’s only like 6-5, 6-6.''
Brandan Wright "is not a muscle kind of guy. His is more of a free-flow game.’’
Sam Dalembert "can be that X-factor for us ... when he is active on the defensive end.''
In other words: One is too hard, one is too soft, and one apparently finds his bed to be just right.
But Sam's "sleep disorder'' isn't the issue of the day. The issue is whether his shoulder allows him to play effectively, and if not, whether it's time for the 25-18 Mavs to allow B-Wright more minutes -- or even a first-team role.
The Mavs are very peoductive with Wright playing with the second unit, especially alongside Vince Carter. But Nowitzki is comfortable sharing the floor with Wright as well. Meanwhile, when Blair starts, Dallas' record is 6-8.
The Mavs are hoping to move their record to 12-4 against the East with a win tonight. Toronto (20-20) defeated Dallas in OT, 109-108, on Dec. 20.