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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Chandler might play; Peja won't

By Jeff Caplan

NEW ORLEANS -- After he missed a third consecutive game with a sprained right ankle, Dallas Mavericks starting center Tyson Chandler said he expected to play against the New Orleans Hornets.

However, after participating in Wednesday morning's shootaround, Chandler might have hedged just a bit. He is a game-time decision, saying his ankle feels good, but he's not sure he's ready to risk a re-aggravation by returning too soon.

"I don’t want to get out there and then have this lingering on for a long time,” Chandler said. “I’m days away. I don’t know if it’s today or a few days.”

Chris Paul (concussion) will miss his his second game, so it might be best for Chandler to sit this one out. The Mavs play three games in four nights with the New York Knicks in town Thursday night followed by a critical showdown Saturday night against the  Los Angeles Lakers. It is paramount that Chandler is healthy for that one as the Mavs try to lock down the No. 2 seed in the West and assure homecourt advantage in a potential semifinal series against the Lakers.

As for Peja Stojakovic, the slumping 3-point specialist said he experienced back spasms after a light workout Tuesday in Minneapolis before the team flew to New Orleans. He was walking stiffly and did not participate in the morning shootaround and is being listed as day-to-day.

“I was looking forward to staying healthy after the knee injury,” Stojakovic said. “It’s just something I have to deal with.”

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was mum on whether he'd insert Shawn Marion or newcomer Corey Brewer into the starting lineup. Carlisle clearly likes to bring Marion off the bench with the Jason Terry, but Brewer has played in just three games and has averaged 7.0 minutes.