Jae Crowder went through most of the Dallas Mavericks’ practice session on Friday and will be available to play in Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The second-year forward sat out the previous two games after suffering a mild abdominal strain during Sunday’s win over the Indiana Pacers.
“I feel better now,” Crowder said. “I’m going to go through the whole practice [Saturday] and plan on playing Sunday. It’s just soreness at this point ... no pain. So that’s a good sign.”
Crowder, who was being treated with medication, injured himself while going up for a layup against the Pacers.
“When I went up it just felt awkward,” he said. “When I came down to take off running again, I knew something was up.”
The Mavs could use Crowder in hopes of giving Thunder star Kevin Durant a different look defensively.
“We put Jae through about two-thirds [of practice] and then pulled him, but he’s doing well,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We didn’t want to push it too hard.”
“Jae is doing well and we’ll see where he is (Saturday). But the signs are good.”
Larkin to D-League
The Mavs assigned point guard Shane Larkin to play for the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League on Friday.
It’s the fourth time the rookie from Miami has been sent down to play for the Legends. But the Mavs want Larkin to get some quality playing time, which he’ll receive more with the Legends than he will with the Mavs.
“He’s done his share of good things, but in recent weeks he’s found out what it’s like to be a first-year player in an unpredictable-minutes situation,” Carlisle said. “This is how you learn, and he’s learning.”
During three previous games for the Legends, Larkin averaged 13.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 35.6 minutes per game. In 42 games for the Mavs, he’s averaged only 2.9 points and 1.6 assists in just 11.1 minutes per contest.
Larkin played for the Legends against Maine on Friday night and was scheduled to play at 7 p.m. Saturday at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco against Tulsa.
Also, he probably will be back in uniform for the Mavs when they play the Thunder.
Plays for Nowitzki
While revealing part of his game plan Friday, Carlisle said he likes to get forward Dirk Nowitzki involved offensively quickly.
“We want to get him touches early in the game every game, and if it doesn’t happen then I’ll blame myself for it,” Carlisle said. “We want to play a flowing random-type game as often as we can — we feel it’s his strength.
“The first two are play calls, and the next two or three that happened were coming off of random things.”
Carlisle knows games are won when the stars are the centerpiece of the activity.
“The ball has to move through the best players, and when it doesn’t then I have to intervene and make play calls to get him involved touching it,” Carlisle said. “But we’re at our best when we’re playing a free-flowing game without play calls with good recognition.”
Nowitzki is coming off Wednesday’s big game against Utah when he riddled the Jazz for 31 points on an efficient 12-of-14 shooting.
It was the 16-year veteran’s best shooting performance of the season, and he also scored 10 points in the first quarter, making 4 of 5 shots.