- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- Mavericks big man Chris Kaman has scored 38 points on 18-of-26 shooting in 40 minutes the last two games.
“I should roll my ankle more often, right?” Kaman cracked.
As far as Kaman is concerned, it’s a minor medical miracle that he didn’t miss a game after spraining his left ankle late in Thursday’s win over the Suns. Or it’s at least evidence that the Mavs have an outstanding medical staff.
When Kaman went down, he thought he’d be out for three to four weeks. He’d been totally off his feet for four or five says when he suffered similar sprains in the past.
Coach Rick Carlisle credited Dirk Nowitzki, who has a history of recovering quickly from ankle sprains (if not arthroscopic knee surgery), for giving Kaman advice that helped speed up the healing process.
It turns out that Nowitzki just encouraged Kaman to follow head athletic trainer Casey Smith’s orders to wake up every two hours to treat the ankle with a compressed ice machine that first night.
“Then Dirk said, ‘Yeah, do what he said. That’ll really work,’” Kaman said.
Well, it did work.
“The first night is the most important night,” said Kaman, whose routine now is to wake up once per night to ice. “It blows my mind still. I just learned that after 10 years. I wish I would have known that a long time ago.”
Kaman is far from healthy. His ankle is still “a glowing purple,” to borrow Carlisle’s descriptions, and his lateral movement and explosiveness are limited. (Kaman admittedly doesn’t “really do a lot of exploding anyways.”) He’s dealing with soreness and stiffness.
But Kaman has been a big factor for the Mavs, who have won three straight games to bump their record above .500 again, despite the bad wheel.
Kaman has done most of his damage recently with midrange jumpers. He’d like to get a few more post-up opportunities, but he’s found a nice niche in the flow of the Mavs’ offense.
“Ankle hurting or whatever, he’s been great for us, hitting that midrange shot, facing up, not doing too much when they’re crowding or double-teaming him,” Elton Brand said. “We need him to continue to play like that for us to continue to win. He’s been great.”
Credit modern technology and some good medical advice for the assist.