NEW ORLEANS — Dallas Mavericks guard Devin Harris took a giant step toward finally playing this season when he went through his first full-contact practice Thursday at New Orleans Arena.The practice involved seven of the Mavs’ low-minute players, with veterans having the day off. It was significant progress for Harris, who has been sidelined since undergoing left foot surgery in August.“I went through full workouts [Thursday], no limitations. I felt good,” Harris said. “I imagine Tuesday is our next practice, so I should be practicing Tuesday and we’ll see kind of where we go from there.”Harris said he expects to be playing in his first game within 10-15 days.Coach Rick Carlisle noted that the Mavs have increased Harris’ workload and that the 10-year veteran had no issues with his foot Friday.“If all goes well, we plan on him practicing full bore with the team on Tuesday, and then we’ll keep ramping it up,” Carlisle said. “It’s uncharted territory because it’s an unusual injury and an unusual situation, but our medical people have navigated it well.“When we had to tap the brakes two or three weeks ago, we tapped the brakes. We got him back on track and now it’s looking promising again.”While that may be true, forward Dirk Nowitzki is still tapping those brakes.“He’s had a couple of setbacks so far, so I don’t really want to get too fired up and get too excited,” Nowitzki said. “We just have to wait and see how it goes from day-to-day.”With games coming fast and furious, Harris believes he won’t have the luxury of going through several practices before he finally plays.“I’d rather just get out there and just [play] limited minutes,” Harris said. “But just go out there and kind of get the full hang of it.” Change of venueA quirk in the schedule has the Mavs hosting New Orleans at 7:30 Saturday night at American Airlines Center — one night after playing the Pelicans in New Orleans. If nothing else, it makes it easier to game plan.“It’s good because the second game you’re basically going and prepping off the game you just played,” Carlisle said. “So it’s kind of like a playoff series in that respect.“I don’t know what’s bad about it.”The Mavs have played the same team twice in a row before. Back on Nov. 23, the Mavs lost in Denver 102-100, and then lost again to the Nuggets in Dallas 110-96 on Nov. 25. Briefly• Guard Wayne Ellington missed Friday’s game with an illness. Ellington also missed the Dec. 28 game in Chicago with an illness.• Eight of the last 14 games between the Mavs and Pelicans have been decided by five points or less.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice