How far the Dallas Mavericks advance in the playoffs may depend on the health of Chandler Parsons.
The small forward missed his fifth straight game Monday night when he sat out the 102-92 loss to Utah because of swelling and persistent pain in his right knee. He is also questionable for Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Portland.
“We’re going day-to-day with it,” coach Rick Carlisle said prior to Monday’s game against Utah. “Things have gotten gradually better and we’ll just keep looking at it. Am I concerned? Yeah, I’m concerned.”
So is Parsons.
With the Mavs priming to open the playoffs against San Antonio, Memphis, Houston or the Los Angeles Clippers, they would be hard-pressed to win a best-of-seven series against any of those teams without Parsons.
Parsons said he’d rather not play than hurt they team.
“Right now I think if I played, not only do I think I would further the injury, I know I’m not as good as I could be and I’d probably hurt more than I would help,” Parsons said. “I could play, but it would almost be selfish to rush back and play and not be able to help my team.
“I’m not going to be immature and ignorant just to play. I’m dying to play, I really want to play, but at the same time I’m not going to be selfish and rush back and not be a contributor and hurt our team.”
The Mavs are hoping Parsons could at least play one tune-up game —Wednesday against Portland — so he could knock off the rust before the playoffs start. But they are not prepared to take any risk with his future.
“I’m no doctor — we’ll just have to see what the next three days bring,” Carlisle said. “He’s made improvements, but he’s not to the point where we’re ready to put him on the floor in an NBA game yet, so that’s where we are.”
From Parsons’ perspective, a tune-up game would do wonders and help him get back in-tune with his teammates, plus get his rhythm back.
“You can do cardio, you can do conditioning, you can do all the stuff just to stay in shape,” Parsons said. “But you can’t really emulate game speed and being in a stance and playing defense and running the floor.
“You can’t really get that without playing, and just being able to make shots in games when you’re tired. It definitely would be helpful to play in a game, but like I said it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I miss Wednesday so I can be able to play in Game 1 [of the playoffs].”
In addition to Parsons, guard Devin Harris left Monday’s game against Utah for good in the first half after suffering a left big toe injury.
The Mavs will enter the playoffs as the No. 7 seed. It’s a step up from last season when they were a No. 8 seed and wound up losing to the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs.
But it would be difficult for the Mavs to reach the second round if Parsons is unable to be effective.
“We’re not going to take any risk with it,” Carlisle said. “He desperately wants to play and he’s played hurt a lot this year. We just got to make sure we’re smart about the whole thing.”
At this point, Parsons can’t even go through an entire practice session. His body won’t allow that at this juncture.
“Any time I can get out there and play in a game situation — five-on-five —and compete, it really helps,” Parsons said. “I just can’t right now.
“My goal is to be back and play Wednesday and get ready to go in Game 1, and if not Wednesday, then hopefully Game 1. It’s going to take a lot for me not to play in the playoffs.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760