No one is more eager to get back on the court than J.J. Barea.
The problem is, the Dallas Mavericks guard just doesn’t know when he’ll be able to play again.
Barea has missed the last 12 games with a left calf strain. He’ll also miss a 13th game when the Mavs play at Detroit on Wednesday before resting for the All-Star break.
After that, Barea is expected to play his first game when the Mavs hit the road for a Feb. 24 game in Minnesota. At least that’s what he’s hoping.
I like Yogi. He deserves everything he got, he worked for what he got. He got an opportunity and he took advantage and he’s helping us, so it’s great.
Mavericks guard J.J. Barea on rookie Yogi Ferrell
“Not the first game, but I’m going to try to get a couple of practices in me before then,” Barea said. “And then we’ll go from there.”
A lot of the minutes Barea used to have are being gobbled up by rookie Yogi Ferrell, who signed a 10-day contract on Jan. 28 and led the Mavs to a 5-2 record while making seven starts. Ferrell parlayed his early success with the Mavs into a two-year contract.
“I like Yogi,” Barea said. “He deserves everything he got, he worked for what he got.
“He got an opportunity and he took advantage and he’s helping us, so it’s great.”
Because Barea and Ferrell are both listed at 6 feet, the former is excited about playing with the latter.
“That’ll be fun,” Barea said. “I think it’s going to happen, so we’ll see what happens when it happens.
“He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s fast, he likes to compete, so he’s going to be all right.”
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took time out to praise the play of Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder, who he knows well.
He was a terrific young player when we had him. We were all very sorry to see him go, but the rise in his career is certainly no surprise to any of us.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on former Mav Jae Crowder
Crowder was a second-round pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2012 NBA Draft, but was immediately dealt to the Mavs in a draft day trade. The 6-6, 235-pounder was known for his all-out hustle and ability to play every position on the perimeter.
“He was a terrific young player when we had him,” Carlisle said. “We were all very sorry to see him go, but the rise in his career is certainly no surprise to any of us.
“He’s one of those rare wing men who can do a little bit of everything. He was actually one of our backup point guards if we had gotten into a real pinch at the point position.”
Carlisle offered his condolences to the family of family of Fab Melo, who died Saturday at age 26.
A 7-foot center, Melo signed with the Mavs on Sept. 10, 2013, but was waived on Oct. 22 while training camp was still occurring.
“It’s tragic when a guy that’s 26 passes,” Carlisle said. “I thought he was an engaging young man, he was energetic and he went hard.”
Melo wound up getting a stint with the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League in 2014.
“I remember he was always smiling and kind of goofy and a nice guy,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s just heartbreaking.”