Severity of Jason Kidd's injury uncertain
DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd left Friday's game against the Utah Jazz early in the first quarter with a right calf strain. The severity of the injury is uncertain, coach Rick Carlisle said.
The injury, which forced Kidd to leave barely two minutes into Dallas' 116-101 victory, left the Mavs without three starters. Dirk Nowitzki missed his fourth game of a scheduled four-game break to help strengthen his sore right knee, and shooting guard Delonte West was out with a tight right hamstring.
Dallas will take Saturday off before closing out a four-game homestand with a first-place showdown Sunday against the Southwest division rival San Antonio Spurs. Both Nowitzki and West hope to return for that one.
Kidd, 38, was playing his seventh game since being sidelined by back spasms for four games. He has struggled throughout this rapid-fire season, averaging just 4.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. His overall shooting percentage and 3-point percentage are both less than 29 percent.
Third-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois filled Kidd's shoes nicely to help Dallas avoid a two-game home losing skid and move into a first-place tie with the Spurs in the Southwest division.
Beaubois recorded season highs with 22 points and seven assists, and added a career-high four blocked shots in 36 minutes, also a season high. He added six rebounds and was 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Carlisle called it Beaubois' best game of the season.
When Kidd missed four games earlier this month, West started at point guard with Vince Carter starting at shooting guard. Carter, who returned from a five-game absence due to a sprained left foot, scored 12 points -- eight in the first quarter -- off the bench.
Beaubois, who admits to being more comfortable playing shooting guard over point guard, started Friday's game at shooting guard before quickly taking over the point after Kidd's injury. His play likely will give Carlisle more confidence to use him for extended stretches there and perhaps even start him if Kidd is unavailable.
"I am getting better every day," Beaubois said about playing point guard. "I know that I can do it. My teammates and coaches trust me, so I just have to keep working and get better every day."
Kidd left the game with 9:47 to play in the opening quarter, hobbling off the court to the bench. Head athletic trainer Casey Smith checked him out on the bench before escorting the 18-year veteran to the locker room.
Kidd was scoreless with one rebound when he left.
Beaubois entered Friday's game averaging 6.2 points in 14.3 minutes, but in two games against the Jazz in the past eight days, he has scored 39 points.
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.