The Dallas Mavericks will get a much clearer picture regarding Monta Ellis’ status after the team goes through a shootaround Sunday morning at TD Garden.
Ellis strained his right hamstring late in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 103-81 victory over the Utah Jazz. The nine-year veteran hobbled off the court and then declared that whatever was ailing him was “minor.”
The Mavs conducted an MRI Saturday on Ellis’ hamstring but have no plans to release any details of it until Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Mavs (30-21) open a three-game road trip at 5 p.m. Sunday against the Boston Celtics (18-33). The trip also includes a game Tuesday in Charlotte before the journey wraps up in Indiana on Wednesday in the final game before the All-Star break.
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Coming out of the break, the Mavs will host to the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat on Feb. 18. Thus, if Ellis’ injury is something more than just a minor hamstring strain, he could sit the entire road trip and have 10 days to rest before facing the Heat.
Jae Crowder and Ellis are the only two players who have played in all 51 of the Mavs’ games this season. Ellis is second on the team in scoring with 19.5 points per game and also leads the Mavs in assists per game (5.8) and steals per game(1.78).
After the Mavs wrapped up their season-high-tying fourth straight win Friday, Ellis was adamant that his strained hamstring wouldn’t be troublesome.
“I’ve got screws and plates in my ankle,” he said. “This is nothing — minor.”
Coach Rick Carlisle, however, wasn’t so sure, saying, “Any time a player walks out early, there’s concern.”
Ellis’ quick forays to the basket are some of the reasons the Mavs have been able to vault nine games over .500 for the first time since they were 21-12 on Feb. 20, 2012.
The Mavs can only hope Ellis will be healthy enough to showcase his scoring abilities again on Sunday against the Celtics. If not, Devin Harris likely will replace Ellis in the starting lineup.
Mekel destined for D-League upon return
Whenever he recovers from the arthroscopic right knee surgery he underwent on Jan. 17, Gal Mekel’s first game on his comeback trail will be in Frisco, where he’ll play for the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.
The rookie from Israel has played in just 30 games this season and is averaging 2.4 points and 2.1 assists in 9.6 minutes per game. He also is shooting only 34.5 percent from the field, including 25.0 percent on 3-point shots.
“He’s making steady progress,” Carlisle said. “I would say he’s ahead of schedule based on what the expectations were with the scope.
“But he’s one of these guys that’s going to be ahead of the curve no matter what, just because that’s how he does things, so we’ll see. I think after the [All-Star] break we’ll probably be talking about him practicing and maybe going and getting some time down there [in the D-League].”