DALLAS -- It didn't take long for Chris Kaman to get a chance to test his right calf Saturday night.
Kaman, who missed the final four preseason games and the first two regular-season contests with a calf strain, was sent into the game after just a few minutes of sitting on the bench in the first quarter. Part of the reason: The Mavericks were having rebounding problems, prompting Rick Carlisle to call a 20-second timeout less than 1:30 into the game.
But Kaman ended up going 8-for-9 from the field (he was 7-for-7 after the third quarter) for 16 points and added four rebounds. He played 20 minutes and was pleased he could contribute. He said he felt good except for the end of the third quarter because he went through the entire halftime and part of the third quarter without playing and got a bit stiff.
"Once it warmed up, it felt really good and it feels good now," said Kaman, moments after the game. "I don't want to jinx it, but I felt pretty good. I want to be patient and look to move forward at a steady pace."
Carlisle saw some signs that Kaman can help the club inside, especially on the boards.
"Chris has a knack for being in the right place," Carlisle said. "His teammates found him several times for easy ones. It's good to have that going when you're coming back from injury. It gets you back into the flow."
Kaman said he'd like to play as much as he can, but he understands that the staff is finding spots to ease him in after the injury and keep a rotation going, too.
"We have a lot of bigs on this team and coach is working a lot of guys in the rotation, trying to figure out who fits with who," Kaman said. "I think he's getting there. I think we've come a long ways since the preseason started. But myself, being out so long, I think he's trying to figure that out, where to put me in and what to do. He's a smart guy and knows his stuff, so just let that happen and be patient."