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Monday, January 23, 2012
Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki: All work, no play

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Vince Carter took some shots at the end of Monday's shootaround, but that was as it for his on-court activity as coach Rick Carlisle said there remains no timetable for the veteran swingman's return from a sprained left foot.

Tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns will be the fourth in a row Carter misses.

Dirk Nowitzki, who will sit out his second of four planned games vs. the Suns, was also going through a workout Monday morning. At the end of the shootaround, he was working at putting the ball on the floor as he would from the elbow or top of the key, an area he explicitly stated was limited by his sore right knee.

Lamar Odom is again expected to get the start at power forward. He's coming off a season-high 16 points Saturday night in the win at New Orleans. Odom clearly enjoys a comfort zone playing power forward, which he played exclusively over seven seasons with the Lakers, as opposed to small forward, which he has mainly played with the Mavs.

But Odom will have to be able to transfer whatever comfort he has at the4 with Dallas and take it back to the 3 when Nowitzki returns, which is expected to be for Sunday's game against the San Antonio Spurs.

"It's definitely an opportunity for more minutes at the 4," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "But, he's still going to be playing some 3 and we've got to maximize his size at 3 and his quickness and playmaking ability at 4. He made some good things happen offensively [against the Hornets]. Defensively, there's still some things we're working on. He's still got to get more aggressive, more active, but all in all he's making progress."

* Also, guard Dominique Jones was recalled from the the Mavs' D-League affiiliate, the Texas Legends, on Monday. He was assigned to the Legends last Sunday prior to the team's four-game road swing. Jones averaged 13.3 points in three games and made 19-of-23 from the free throw line.