Dallas Mavericks

Nerlens Noel won’t play against Toronto, miss third consecutive game

He sat on the bench after the Dallas Mavericks’ shootaround this morning, dejected with the latest news involving his sore left knee.

As frustration set in, Mavericks center Nerlens Noel was sadden to admit that he’ll miss his third consecutive game tonight when Dallas (28-37) plays the Toronto Raptors (38-28) at 6:30 at the Air Canada Centre.

“I’ve felt the best I’ve felt in the past few days,’’ Noel said. “It’s a pretty close decision, but I’m just a little too uncomfortable to play.

“Like I said, it’s the best I’ve felt, so it’s only going to get better and it’ll be even better tomorrow.’’

In the six games he’s played since the Mavericks acquired him in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 23, Noel has averaged 10 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 24.2 minutes per contest. The third-year veteran has the ability to change the game with his athleticism, but he can’t do that unless his knee heals, thus allowing him to get some time on the court.

Asked if he thinks he’ll be ready to play when the Mavericks face the Washington Wizards in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Noel said: “Yeah, for sure. I think that’s real likely.’’

Noel had some swelling that cropped up in his knee, but said that has gone down.

“It goes down every day, but I think today was at that point where it’s borderline,’’ Noel said. “That’s where it was, and I guess it was on the other side.

‘So as I said, I’ll probably be good by tomorrow, and Wednesday for sure.’’

The injury has been frustrating to Noel, who wants to badly to show the Mavericks how he can consistently have a positive impact on their franchise.

“It’s very frustrating,’’ Noel said. “But I missed the whole course of (the 2013’14) 82 games (with a torn anterior cruciate ligament surgery).

“So I just know how to stay mentally focused and just take care of it and get ready to get back to business.’’

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