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Friday, March 16, 2012
Brendan Haywood out for Mavs

By Tim MacMahon
ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood will miss at least five games after spraining his right knee Thursday night.

"Not considered serious or long-term, but we've got to take care of it," coach Rick Carlisle said.

Ian Mahinmi will fill in as the Mavs' starting center with Brandan Wright backing him up.

The Mavericks begin a stretch of 10 consecutive games against playoff teams when they take on Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs Saturday night.

Dallas will face All-Star center Andrew Bynum and the Los Angeles Lakers, then the Spurs again without Haywood next week.

"It's a hit for us," Carlisle said. "He's been a big part of when we've played well. Look, this is why we have three guys."

Haywood returned from a four-game absence because of a left ankle sprain Tuesday. He injured the ankle on the first possession of the Mavs' March 5 game in Oklahoma City. The Mavericks lost four of five games without Haywood, including the loss to the Thunder, and got progressively worse defensively during that stretch.

The 7-foot Haywood, who stepped into the starting role for the defending champion after Tyson Chandler signed with the New York Knicks in December, is averaging 5.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks this season. He has served as the defensive backbone for a team that ranks sixth in points allowed.

The Mavs got some good news regarding Delonte West's surgically repaired right ring finger, which has sidelined the guard since he suffered the gruesome fracture Feb. 15. West got the pins removed from the finger Friday.

"It will take him a couple of days to get his fingers moving a little bit and then he can start raising things up to a different level on the court with some of his workout stuff," Carlisle said. "I don't know a timetable for when he can get back playing in games, but getting the pins out is a very positive step."

Small forward Shawn Marion received treatment on his sore left knee during Friday's practice, as he did Wednesday. Marion played in Thursday's win over the Bobcats and said he has no intention of sitting out any games.

"He's been a warrior for us all year long, hasn't missed a game," Carlisle said. "I know he would like to play every game if he could, but we're going to see. If there's a situation where we need to sit him, we'll sit him."