Minute Men: Injured Jason Kidd now means rested later?

Our weekly look at how coach Rick Carlisle is managing the minutes of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd during this 66-game schedule:

DALLAS -- The only way the Dallas Mavericks can view Jason Kidd's third injury -- a strained right groin -- at this critical juncture of the season is to believe that at least he'll be well-rested and presumably healthy for the start of the postseason.

Because coach Rick Carlisle certainly has an opinion on what postseason life would be like without the 18-year veteran.

"Unless he's healthy, it's all moot," Carlisle said. "The one thing about him, he hasn't missed a lot of long stretches, but whenever he has, he always comes back and is able to get back in the flow quickly. Somebody with that many years of experience, he understands how to get back into it and that's a special skill."

Kidd injured his groin in Friday's comeback win at Orlando. He has since missed Monday's loss against the Clippers and Wednesday's win over Memphis. He expected to miss at least two more games. But, as with any injury, predicting a return can be tricky.

If Kidd misses only two more games, his return would come Tuesday against Sacramento just prior to a four-game road swing out west.


Season averages: 28.1 mpg, 5.9 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.0 rpg

The breakdown: Kidd played in two games last week. In the 21-point loss at Miami, he had six points, four rebounds and six assists in 29 minutes. However, he had another awful shooting night, going 2-of-8 from the floor with all eight shots coming from beyond the arc. The next night at Orlando he missed all four of his shots, three from long distance, in 24 minutes. That was through three quarters. Delonte West played the entire fourth quarter and had a big hand in the comeback win. At the time it was assumed that coach Rick Carlisle had simply stuck with West because he and the team were playing well. It wasn't until the team reconvened for practice that it became known that Kidd was injured.


Season averages: 32.9 mpg, 21.2 ppg, 6.6 apg, 2.2 rpg

The breakdown: His minutes and scoring average continue to creep up, but still anyone who thought that Nowitzki would be averaging fewer than 33 minutes a game this late into the season would be lying. However, his minutes are continually on the rise with this past week being a prime example. He lowest total was 34 minutes at Miami. He then logged 37, 36 and finally 38 minutes Wednesday against the Grizzlies for an average of 36.3 minutes in the four games. The increased time certainly didn't affect his shooting. Dirk went 35-of-69 (50.7 percent) from the floor in averaging 23.8 points. Expect his minutes to remain right around 36 a game if not higher in these final weeks.