That thud heard in the visitor’s locker room were the hearts of the Dallas Mavericks players and coaching staff hitting the concrete surface on the suspense surrounding an injury to the lower right leg of shooting guard Monta Ellis.
Ellis suffered the injury midway through the third quarter of Friday’s 94-76 loss to the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. The Mavs don’t know the extent of Ellis’ injury, but they do know it’ll be difficult trying to win games if their leading scorer is unavailable to play.
“It’s going to make it hard – he’s our leading scorer,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “But we’ll see the extent of the injury, we’ll see if he has to miss time, and if he does we’ll have to adjust.’’
Ellis is a gym rat who despises missing games and has played in 237 straight games, including all 155 games since he joined the Mavs last season. But with just nine games remaining in the regular season and the Mavs (45-28) not in a fight for their playoff lives, they have to decide if resting Ellis and getting him physically ready for the playoffs is their best course of action.
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However, that’s assuming the news when they receive an update on Ellis today isn’t anything devastating.
“Our trainers will evaluate the situation and we’ll communicate with him,’’ Carlisle said. “I don’t see us putting him out there if he’s not feeling good, but you can’t underestimate his ability to bounce back from things.
“He’s a fighter, he loves to compete and he hates missing games. That said, we’re not going to out him in harm’s way.’’
While that may be true, the Mavs haven’t exactly shown they can win games on a consistent basis without some solid offensive contributions from Ellis. But that may be pressed into that dire situation starting with Sunday’s game in Indiana.
“We’ll ask everybody to be aggressive, everybody do more, and everyone step up to the challenge,’’ forward Chandler Parsons said. “Obviously he’s a big part of our offense, but any time someone goes down it gives another guy a chance to step up and have a bigger opportunity.
“So hopefully he’s not out too long – I don’t even know if he’ll out in Indiana. But everyone’s got to be ready to play their part and be aggressive and pick up his slack.’’
Ellis is 10th in the NBA in drives to the basket (609) this season, but is only 35th in free throws attempts (277). Still, the Mavs will sorely miss the 19.1 points per game he averages if he has to miss some court time.
“Everybody just has to do a little more,’’ center Tyson Chandler said. “I think the biggest key for us is ball movement and running.
“We’ve got to make sure we continue to keep our pace and move the ball. If the ball sticks and it’s on one side of the court it makes it tough, especially against a good defensive team.’’
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760