Raymond Felton is expected to be ready to start his four-game suspension Sunday when the Dallas Mavericks host the Miami Heat.
Felton has been sidelined since suffering a high right ankle sprain in the first half of the Oct. 10 preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The veteran guard has been practicing, and was on the floor working out before Friday night’s game against the Utah Jazz.
The Mavs are expected to place Felton on the active roster Sunday. Once that happens he must serve the four-game suspension the NBA handed him after he pleaded guilty this summer to a gun-possession charge in New York.
Felton would miss the upcoming four-game homestand and won’t be eligible to play until the Mavs go on the road to face the Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 17.
That’s where Felton’s career started, after Charlotte made him the fifth overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft.
Felton, 30, will be among a crowd at point guard for the Mavs that includes Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris and J.J. Barea.
“It’s a league of playmaking now, so we believe in having as many playmakers as we can on the roster,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Those guys, I like them to be aggressive to score, and also to get in the lane and find other people.”
The Mavs acquired Felton in a June 25 trade from the New York Knicks, which also brought Tyson Chandler to Dallas.
Charlie Villanueva beat the odds and made the Mavs’ roster.
Now the power forward is fighting for playing time.
“I feel like the hardest task is to crack the rotation; you would think making the team and going against the odds would be the hardest thing, having 15 guys with guaranteed contracts already,” Villanueva said. “But the hardest thing is trying to get minutes on this team, because we’re a very deep team, and guys can play different positions.”
Before Friday’s game against Utah, Villanueva had played a total of 10 minutes in just two games. He played the opening 66 seconds of Friday’s game, which is his earliest time on the court this season.
“He’s working hard,” Carlisle said. “He’s ready to play if needed, and at some point there’s going to be some opportunities, so we’ll see.”
It’s been tough for Villanueva, who has career averages of 11.5 points in 23.1 minutes per game.
“You just got to put the team ahead of yourself,” he said. “I’ve been around, so I know how to put those things aside and do what’s best for the team.”