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Mavericks center will miss five games with injury

The Mavericks are going to be without Brendan Haywood again for a while.

Coach Rick Carlisle said Friday that the veteran center will miss at least the next five games because of a sprained right knee he suffered in Thursday night’s game against Charlotte.

The next five games are against San Antonio, at Denver, home against the Lakers, at San Antonio and at Houston. Haywood’s first game back could be March 27 at home against Houston.

Haywood missed four games last week because of a sprained left ankle. He came back Tuesday night against Washington and had six points and eight rebounds. Thursday night, he had six points and eight rebounds in 15 minutes.

“It’s a hit for us because he’s been a big part of when we’ve played well,” Carlisle said. “But look, this is why we have three guys. ... We’ll have to be a little creative.”

Carlisle said the injury is not considered serious or long-term.

He said the Mavericks will get Yi Jianlian ready to play some minutes at center and would consider recalling Sean Williams from the D-League.

“It’s an opportunity for us, me and Brandan Wright, to step up and give the team some good minutes,” Mahinmi said. “But at the same time, we still need to win lots of games. Big games coming up.”

At least Mahinmi has some starting experience now. The third-year center from France started the four games that Haywood missed last week and averaged 8.0 points and 6.6 rebounds.

“This is not my first start anymore,” Mahinmi said. “I’m more comfortable with this. Definitely more comfortable. ... I have a lot to do, but you know, all my teammates are great players with me, great teammates and they make my job a lot easier.”

Haywood was averaging 5.6 points and 6.7 rebounds going into Thursday’s game. Mahinmi was averaging 6.2 and 4.7.

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