Dallas Mavericks

December 20, 2013

Mavericks notes: Another toe is slowing Devin Harris’ return

One of Harris’ toes — but not the one he had surgery on — is swollen and hampering his comeback.

The latest development from Devin Harris’ injury is that the surgically repaired second toe on his left foot isn’t the one that’s causing the Dallas Mavericks guard trouble and hijacking his comeback.

It’s the middle toe on Harris’ left foot that’s now the troublemaker.

“I had a bit of a setback, had some swelling, some inflammation [in the middle toe],” Harris said before Friday’s game against Toronto. “So right now, we’re kind of in a wait-and-see department, trying to see when that’ll calm down, and that’s when I’ll kind of resume [basketball] activities.”

Harris, who said he doesn’t expect to play his first game this season until sometime in January, had surgery in July and was expected to play before Christmas. But he said he’s glad the toe on which he had surgery isn’t the one that’s swollen.

“We knew the inflammation was coming from somewhere,” Harris said. “We hoped that it wasn’t the second [toe] because obviously that means there’s something wrong with the plate. The fact that it’s the third [toe] obviously is better than we expected. But we still have to wait for it to calm down.”

Title reflections

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey knows exactly why the Dallas Mavericks were able to beat the Miami Heat in six games and capture the 2011 NBA title.

“It all clicked; everybody bought in, everybody clicked in, knew their roles,” Casey said. “Nobody was trying to get the next contract, nobody was trying to be above this guy, that guy.

“Everybody knew their niche. They played their niche; they accepted their niche. Then again, you had a team of veterans that knew how to play, and it was their time to win.”

Casey was an assistant coach with the Mavs from 2008 until he became the Raptors’ coach shortly after Dallas captured the 2011 championship. As the Mavs’ defensive coordinator at the time, Casey saw firsthand the way all the pieces fell together for Dallas.

“They trusted the pass — I think that would be probably one of the biggest things offensively we did,” Casey said. “And defensively, we did a good job of really incorporating the zone and man-to-man. But again, I think that the chemistry was everybody accepted their role and took their role to the nth degree.”

Defensive emphasis

A point of emphasis for the Mavs in practice lately has been their work on defense and rebounding.

Coach Rick Carlisle had been displeased with the way his team played defense and attacked the boards, so he decided to hand out some refresher courses.

“In our three quality practice days, we’ve committed 80 percent of our practice time to defense and rebounding,” Carlisle said. “We’ve just been that bad on defense. We were 20th and 25th [rank in the league defensively] towards the end of November. That’s not good.”

Carlisle said the Mavs have moved up into the top five in defense in December.

“We know how hard it is to sustain that,” he said. “But we’ve got to use the prep time and the practice time to come up with the right schemes as well as to work on what our rotations are.”

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