Sports

Brandan Wright back to full strength with the Mavericks

DENVER -- A game 18 days ago in New Orleans is one Dallas Mavericks center Brandan Wright will never forget.

It was March 2, the day Wright had a rather frightful experience when he suffered a concussion following a violent collision with Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

The concussion forced Wright -- he also was left with a bloody mouth -- to miss six games while giving him time to reassess his basketball life.

"Aminu drove in on me and his head hit my facial area, and that's when it happened," Wright said. "I felt a little funny.

"I finished the game out, but after the game that's when everything just hit me. I had headaches and was dizzy, and the next day it was even worse."

The headaches subsided, and in three games since returning Wright has played 38 minutes and contributed 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. The Mavs (26-20) are hoping for more of the same from Wright when they face the Denver Nuggets (25-20) tonight.

During the time off, Wright did some soul searching, wondering how such a freak accident could occur in the first place.

"It was weird because it wasn't like it was a knee or an ankle or a wrist," Wright said. "It's your head.

"Some people don't take it seriously, but it's definitely something to be taken very, very serious. But I feel good and everything's good to go. Every day it got progressively better."

Per NBA rules, Wright wasn't allowed back on the court until he was able to pass a battery of concussion-related tests conducted by the Mavs' medical staff.

"That's the only way you can get back on the court is to pass everything," Wright said. "I had some baseline things I did when you first get here when you are completely normal. You have to at least get back to that."

Wright played five minutes in his first game back on Tuesday against Washington, and added 13 more in Thursday's win over Charlotte.

But he was really back to his old self during Saturday's huge win over San Antonio when he collected eight points, nine rebounds, one block and a steal in 20 minutes.

Wright is even more valuable as a backup to Ian Mahinmi, since starting center Brendan Haywood will miss at least the next four games with a sprained right knee.

Coach Rick Carlisle said: "Brandan Wright is very key to what we're trying to do, particularly at the defensive end of the floor."

While that may be true, Wright, who had never previously suffered a concussion, is just happy to put the events of March 2 behind him.

"It was real strange just walking around all day with a headache," he said. "It was weird."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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