INDIANAPOLIS -- Shawn Marion understands that his Dallas Mavericks teammates need him in the worst possible way.
But the 14-year veteran won't risk a long-term gain for a short-term solution.
Thus, as the Mavs (5-4) prepare to play the Indiana Pacers (3-6) at 6 tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Marion doesn't know if the medial collateral ligament he strained in his left knee on Nov. 5 will allow him to finally play a game again.
"I don't want to jump out there and just tweak it even more and I have to sit out even longer," Marion said after Thursday's practice. "I can play through some pain. I just don't want to have to favor it too much and be cautious of that at the same time."
The plan coach Rick Carlisle has for Marion is for him to go through the shootaround this morning. If he feels good afterward, he will play. If not, he'll miss another game.
"He's doing better, but again we're not saying he's going to play for sure," Carlisle said. "We don't know. We need him to keep making progress."
Marion, who averages eight points and a team-high nine rebounds per game, has missed the past five games. He went through a light workout Thursday with no problems.
"We didn't really have too much contact, but I was able to go through everything," Marion said. "There was some pain, but I was able to get through it."
There are several members of the Mavericks' organization who have ties to the Pacers.
Rick Carlisle coached the Pacers from 2003-2007, assistant coach Jim O'Brien followed Carlisle and coached the Pacers from 2007-2011. Also, guards Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones were traded from the Pacers to the Mavs this past off-season for Ian Mahinmi.
Jones played the past three seasons for Indiana, and Collison was there the past two years.
Crowder on track?
Against Washington on Wednesday, rookie Jae Crowder showed some of the flashes he displayed when he went six straight preseason games scoring at least 10 points.
Crowder scored 10 points in the opening-day upset of the Los Angeles Lakers. But he hadn't scored in double figures again until he scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the 107-101 win over the Wizards.
"Jae stepped up big-time [Wednesday] night," Rick Carlisle said. "He had had two or three games that were subpar based on what he had been doing, and so that's what you like to see.
"You like to see a young guy -- when he gets demoted -- to really step it up and re-establish himself."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760