Sunday marks six months since Dallas Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons had hybrid microfracture surgery to repair the cartilage in his right knee.
Parsons would like nothing more than to celebrate that occasion by playing for the first time this season when the Mavs (1-1) face the Los Angeles Lakers (0-2) at 8:30 p.m. at STAPLES Center.
Parsons has been rehabilitating his knee and working out vigorously in hopes of returning as soon as possible.
The fifth-year veteran went through the Mavs’ final practice session Saturday — they will not have a shootaround Sunday morning — but was hesitant to admit whether he’ll play against the Lakers.
“We’ll see how it feels in the morning, but I went through everything again today and it felt great,” Parsons said. “I did a lot of work in the weight room and shot afterward, and I felt fine. So barring a setback or any swelling [Saturday night], my hope is to play tomorrow.
“I’m sure there will be a minutes restriction of some sort, but we’ll see tomorrow for sure. Something could happen, so I can’t say I’m playing or not, but I want to and I hope to.”
Deron Williams also isn’t sure if he will play against the Lakers. The point guard sprained his left knee during Wednesday’s 111-95 win at Phoenix and sat out Thursday’s 104-88 loss to the Clippers.
The Mavs have listed Williams as questionable, although he practiced Saturday.
Shooting guard Wesley Matthews also practiced Saturday after sitting out the Clippers game as a precaution. Matthews, who underwent surgery on March 11 to repair his torn left Achilles tendon, played 26 minutes in Wednesday’s win over the Suns.
“They both practiced,” assistant coach Kaleb Canales said of Williams and Parsons. “We went up and down [the court] in terms of our game plan for preparations, and they both looked good when they were out there.”
Canales ran the practice Saturday because coach Rick Carlisle and lead assistant Melvin Hunt flew to Minnesota to attend funeral services for former Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders.
Parsons has been eager to get back on the court and start earning some of that three-year, $46 million contract the Mavs signed him to in the summer of 2014.
“[Sunday] is the six-month anniversary of when I actually had the surgery, but I wasn’t playing for two weeks before that, really, so it’s been about seven months since I’ve played,” Parsons said. “I know it’s going to be a process and at times I’m going to get frustrated, but the best thing is I’ve got teammates that believe in me and they’ll make me feel comfortable out there, and I’ve got coaches that put me in great situations, and I just can’t wait to play, man.
“I’ve been playing my whole life and I’ve never had something I love like this taken away from me for so long. It’ll be an unbelievable feeling if I’m able to play.”
Last year, Parsons averaged 15.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. The Mavs will want more production out of him as he gets his legs under him and gets in better game condition.
“I’ve never done this much stuff in the weight room — my total body — especially my knee,” said Parsons, who had surgery May 1. “After that first day of practice, it was like everything was sore besides my knee, so that was a good sign.”
Parsons has noticed from the bench where he can be a factor once he returns to the lineup.
“Sometimes, when you’re not actually playing, you can see it from a different perspective, a different view,” Parsons said. “You can see where you can help, you see what’s hurting our team, what shots coach is looking for.
“I’ve been working on a lot of stuff on my own. ... I’ve been working on my handles all summer long. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing and competing and helping my team get a win.”