Friday, December 6, 2013
Wright practices, will be ready to play soon
By Tim MacMahon
DALLAS -- Mavericks center/forward Brandan Wright practiced Friday for the first time since suffering a nondisplaced fracture in his left shoulder Oct. 8.
Wright joined the Mavs on their three-game West Coast road trip and there is a chance he could play as soon as Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors, although there is no firm timetable for his return to game action.
“My body feels good,” Wright said. “I was a little rusty, but everything felt good. ... I need to get my legs up under me. I need to get in better shape, especially for what I need to do up there to help the team win. It’s going to take me a little bit, but not too long, though.”
The Mavs re-signed Wright to a two-year, $10 million deal this summer with the hope that he could pick up where he left off last season. The 6-foot-10 high-flyer averaged 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 24 minutes over the final 23 games last season, helping the Mavs go 15-8 over that stretch to finish .500.
Wright, whose return will add athleticism and scoring punch to the second unit, moved well during Friday’s workout and exhibited his usual explosiveness. He played primarily center for the Mavs the last two seasons, but he could potentially also see significant playing time at power forward when paired with DeJuan Blair.
“It was a short practice, but he looked good to me,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He wasn’t favoring anything. Obviously, I think he wants to get a couple more practices in, but he looked good to me. He didn’t lose any vertical leap, so that’s good. He was up there quick as ever, and that’s what we’re going to need from him. His rolls, his ability to finish at the rim, his little lefty jump hook, we’re definitely going to look forward to getting that back.”
Wright will focus on improving conditioning and regaining his shooting touch as he prepares for his return and will practice again with the Mavs on Sunday and Tuesday.
“He’ll be ready when he’s ready,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s getting closer. He’s getting closer. That’s all I can tell you.”
It’d be fitting for Wright to return against Golden State, the team that Wright began his NBA career with after being selected eighth overall in the 2007 draft. The Warriors traded Wright after two and a half injury-plagued seasons, and he’s admitted that he feels he has something to prove when he plays his former team.
“That would be a good place to come back and try to put some hurt on those guys,” said Wright, who averaged 12.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in two road games against the Warriors with the Mavs. “But we’ll see. We’ll see. I’m taking it day by day.”