The basketball gods have truly blessed Dallas Mavericks guard Devin Harris this season.
Before the regular season even started, Harris suffered a right great toe sprain in the Oct. 21 preseason finale at Denver that was so horrific that there was discussion about the 13-year veteran having surgery and sitting out the entire 2016-17 season.
Harris, though, opted to heal the toe via non-surgical methods, and that wound up saving his season.
“His injury that he sustained in that exhibition game in Denver is normally a surgical injury,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Thursday morning’s shootaround at American Airlines Center. “It’s normally several months (of recovery time), and in his case (he) would have likely been (out for) the season.
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“There were a couple of cases where non-surgical was the route to go. Fortunately for us and for Devin, his case was one where the non-surgical approach was in play. There was a chance that it could be effective.”
Following that 101-75 loss to Denver, Harris missed the first 16 games of the regular season before turning for the Nov. 30 contest against the San Antonio Spurs. And he’s been relatively healthy ever since.
Asked if he’s made the best out of what could have been a dire situation, Harris said: “Seeing how I wasn’t even supposed to play this season, probably. Getting the news early on and not expecting to play, obviously it’s just a blessing to be able to play and play well.
“Making the most out of it is probably the best way I describe it.”
Injuries to Harris’ toes have become legendary and problematic. Harris had toe surgery in the summer of 2013, and again in the summer of 2014, and also missed 10 games in January of 2016 after straining his left big toe.
Then came the injury last October.
“He didn’t want to have surgery and lose the year and we certainly didn’t want to lose him,” Carlisle said. “There was a little bit uncertainly as to whether it would work for sure, but he wanted to give it a shot.
“We certainly were fine with it and the way it’s worked out has really saved his season.”
Harris averages 6.4 points in 16.7 minutes per game, and is a vital part of the Mavericks’ guard rotation. He hopes to play another key role for the Mavericks (30-40) tonight at 7:30 when they host the Los Angeles Clippers (43-29) at AAC
“He’s had a terrific year,” Carlisle said. “And if you factor in the situation with that injury and what could have been a disastrous situation with the surgery and et cetera, it’s been a phenomenal year.”
Harris doesn’t plan on any having any maintenance on his feet this summer. He just wants a full off-season with no issues with his feet.
“The plan is to go in healthy and have the first full summer in a couple of years and just get in really shape and then get ready for next year,” Harris said.