Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri feels very fortunate after the ankle injury he suffered during Wednesday’s 95-85 loss to the Detroit Pistons turned out to be not so serious.
The Mavericks diagnosed Mejri’s injury as a sprained left ankle and have listed him as questionable for Friday’s game in Utah.
“It’s a lot better than yesterday and a lot better than we expected it would be,’’ Mejri said following Thursday’s practice. “It’s still bothering me a little bit, but it should be sore.
“I hope tomorrow it will be better, too.’’
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Mejri went through some of Thursday’s practice drills.
“We didn’t do a lot,’’ Mejri said. “We just went through some of (the Jazz) plays and some of our plays, too.
“We didn’t go through contact, so I don’t know how it will feel when I play.
“From walking through to going live is a whole different world, so we’ll see.’’
Mejri has been the Mavericks’ starter since regular center Andrew Bogut has missed the past five games with a right knee injury.
Since Bogut will not make the trip to Utah, the Mavericks are hopeful that Mejri will be able to play so he can help deal with Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Gobert averages a career-high 11.8 points and also leads the NBA in field goal shooting (68.2 percent), is second in blocks (2.77) and sixth in rebounds (11.7).
“He’s playing a lot better since he signed his new deal,’’ Mejri said. “That would be like something that turns you on to play better.
“Gobert is more a length guy than big – he can jump, he can play the rim on pick-on-rolls, so that’s another problem. So we’ll try to figure out how we’re going to play.’’
If Mejri is limited, the Mavericks will have to lean on Dwight Powell and rookie A. J. Hammons for the bulk of the work against one of the more efficient centers in the NBA.
“He went through some things today and he’s doing better than expected,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said of Mejri. “It turned out that he just rolled it a little bit.
“He didn’t step on anybody’s foot, so we’re lucky.’’