DALLAS -- Have no fear, J.J. Barea, the hottest Dallas Mavericks player of the month, has bucked the flu bug (and an apparent slight groin issue), participated in Wednesday's shootaround and is a go for tonight's game against the Sacramento Kings.
The long-awaited, highly anticipated season debut of Roddy Beaubois is also on tap for tonight, meaning the Dallas Mavericks will have their full complement of players -- with the notable exception of Caron Butler -- for the first time all season.
That alone should excite coach Rick Carlisle.
"Well, listen, we made progress with our health for sure," Carlisle said. "I don't have a good feeling about anything because I think when you start feeling good is when you get into a dangerous situation. We've got to continue to push forward. Even though we have guys that have become healthier there's more ground to cover."
Having Barea available does allow Carlisle to insert Beaubois into the starting lineup if he so chooses and keep his bench, which has played brilliantly of late, unchanged. Had Barea not been able to play, Beaubois could have slid into Barea's slot. Now Beaubois can assume the starting role that he was projected to fill at the start of the season. The lone change, obviously, would be moving DeShawn Stevenson, to a reduced role on the bench whether he deserves such a demotion or not.
Will Carlisle insert Beaubois into the starting lineup in his first game a la Peja Stojakovic? Only Carlisle knows that right now. But, when he rattled off praise for his bench, Beaubois was conspicuously not mentioned. Intentional? (add suspense music here).
"We've got one of the best benches in the league and J.J. is a big part of it, so is Jet [Jason Terry], so is [Shawn] Marion, so is [Brian] Cardinal and [Brendan] Haywood, [Ian] Mahinmi and all these guys," Carlisle said. "In the last eight or nine days, everybody that's going to be on our active roster tonight has played a significant role at some point during that period of time. I think that speaks to the kind of team we have. We have a lot of important components."
All will be dressed and ready. The Mavs have 12 healthy players so no one will be made inactive.