Mavs center Wright at practice but won’t play at Portland

Posted Saturday, Dec. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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As expected, center Brandan Wright finally went through a full contact practice Friday for the first time since Oct. 8, when he suffered a small non-displaced fracture of his left shoulder.

Wright, however, will not be on the court when the Dallas Mavericks (12-8) face the powerful Portland Trail Blazers (16-3) at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

Wright expects to play at some point on this four-game road trip, which started with a 100-97 victory in New Orleans on Wednesday.

Wright said: “Whenever I feel good, whenever my legs feel good and I’m comfortable out there, I’ll be ready to go.”

Whenever that is, no one knows for sure. Not even coach Rick Carlisle.

“B-Wright looked fine,” Carlisle said. “He did everything [in Friday’s practice].

“Listen, he’ll be ready when he’s ready. He’s getting closer, that’s all I can tell you.”

When asked how many practices he believes Wright will need before he can get in a game, Carlisle said: “It depends on which doctor you talk to. I’m not a doctor.”

Last year Wright averaged 8.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in just 18 minutes per game and shot a healthy 59.7 percent from the field. He also blocked at least two shots in 23 of the 64 games he played in.

The Mavs were expecting great things from Wright after they signed him to a two-year, $10 million contract this past summer. But so far they’ve been limited to playing Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair and occasionally Bernard James at center while the more athletic Wright rehabbed his shoulder.

Wright scored 14 points in only 19 minutes while going 7 of 8 from the field when the Mavs dropped their preseason opener to New Orleans 94-92on Oct. 7. The next day in practice is when he suffered his shoulder injury.

Ellis not getting to line

On Wednesday, owner Mark Cuban said that guard Monta Ellis is not going to the free throw line enough because he’s simply not getting his share of calls from the referees.

And the number bears that out.

Entering Saturday night’s game at Portland, Ellis is mired in his worst five-game stretch of free throw attempts this season with just 17 tries. In the previous five games Ellis attempted 49 free throws, including a three-game stretch in which he had 13, 12 and 10 attempts against Philadelphia, Houston and Utah, respectively.

Prior to that five-game stretch of games, Ellis went to the line 24 times in five games. Also, he opened the first five games of the season by converting 32 of 38 free throws.

Carlisle hasn’t detected anything in Ellis’ game which has limited his free throw tries. But he did admit that some teams just don’t foul as much as others.

“He’s still attacking,” Carlisle said. “He got in the lane [Wednesday] against New Orleans and he finished a bunch, but he didn’t get fouled.

“But I haven’t seen any change in his mentality. We’re going to keep encouraging him to attack because that’s his personality and that’s his game.”

Ellis had six free throw attempts against New Orleans, but none in the Nov. 27 game against Golden State and none in the Nov. 29 contest against Atlanta.

Briefly

• This is the second leg of a home-and-home back-to-back for Portland. The Blazers hosted Utah on Friday night. Teams rarely play both ends of a back-to-back at home — and the Mavs never do that.

• “Where I’m from this is T-shirt weather,” Carlisle, who is from upstate New York, said in reference to Friday’s ice/sleet storm.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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