Marion set to return for Mavs following four-game absence

Posted Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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From Shawn Marion’s perspective, he has sat on the sidelines too long and gone through more than enough treatments.

Thus, after sitting out the past four games with a bruised right shoulder and bruised upper ribs, Marion will be back in the lineup for the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at 9:30 when they play the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

Marion went through an entire practice Tuesday at American Airlines Center in anticipation of facing the Clippers. Yet he did say he was still experiencing some pain.

“I think it’s something that I can tolerate now, so I’m just going to give it a go,” Marion said. “I plan on playing.

“I think I’m just a little stiff right now, but other than that I feel fine. We got a lot of activity out there and I was able to get through the whole practice.”

Marion injured himself when he tripped and fell over teammate Dirk Nowitzki and Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol during a Jan. 7 victory. Without Marion, the Mavs posted a 3-1 record — losing to San Antonio and winning against New Orleans (twice) and Orlando.

However, the Mavs know their defensive strength hinges on the courageous play of Marion, who team officials continually say doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the NBA’s premier one-on-one defenders.

“He practiced and went through everything, and I think he’s still sore,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I think he wants to play.”

Marion averages 11.3 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game this season. He defends every position on the court except the center spot, which is why he’s so valuable to the Mavs, who also play at Phoenix on Friday during this two-game road trip.

And as the games get tougher, Marion gets even more eager about being on the court.

“I can’t sit too much longer,” he said. “It’s tough, but I’m going to give it a go and help my team on this road trip.”

Harris practices

Devin Harris went through his first full practice of the season Tuesday with the Mavs’ veterans, but don’t expect him on the court for any of the three games this week.

“He’s getting better and better, and he’s on the right path,” Carlisle said. “He’s done everything that he’s supposed to and he’s getting to where he needs to get.

“So we’re getting closer and closer, but it won’t happen this week.”

Harris underwent surgery on his left foot in August and has yet to play this season. The Mavs are expecting the 10-year veteran to give them some valuable playing time at point guard behind Jose Calderon.

“He’s an experienced NBA player who is a starting caliber player in this league,” Carlisle said. “Once he’s to the point where he can get back out there and he’s got the conditioning and those kinds of things, he’ll help us.

“He’ll be one of our better perimeter defenders. He’s a good penetrator, he can draw fouls, he can find people and he can shoot threes, so he brings a lot. We’ve just got to make sure he’s right before we put him out there.”

Keeping their edge

The Mavs have won their last three games and have crept into the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. Dallas is three games behind the No. 4-seeded Clippers and one game ahead of the eight-seeded Phoenix Suns.

Coincidentally, the Mavs (23-16) play at the Clippers (26-13) on Wednesday, and then play at the Suns (21-16) on Friday. Hence, the overwhelming importance of this two-game road trip.

“This is a tough trip,” Carlisle said. “We’re playing two of the really good teams in the conference and they’re direct competitors, so we’re going to have to be really on.

“But the most important thing is we’ve got to keep our edge.”

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

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