Dallas Mavericks

Barea has season-ending surgery early Monday. Who will Mavs lean on to fill veteran’s void?

J.J. Barea ruptured his right Achilles tendon Friday night, leaving a big hole on the Mavs’ bench.
J.J. Barea ruptured his right Achilles tendon Friday night, leaving a big hole on the Mavs’ bench. AP

J.J. Barea won’t play again this season after undergoing surgery Monday morning to repair his ruptured right Achilles tendon, an injury suffered Friday night in the Dallas Mavericks’ victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Barea, a 13-year veteran, went down after a fourth-quarter layup. The guard, the first man of the Mavs’ bench, had scored 16 points and will finish the season with averages of 10.9 points per game and 5.6 assists.

The Mavs hosted the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, losing 119-114, and coach Rick Carlisle said that the Barea injury would likely result in more minutes for rookie guard Jalen Brunson and veteran Devin Harris.

“It’s gut-wrenching for all of us,” Carlisle said. “It’s gut-wrenching for the team, the coaches, the fans. But it’s hard to put into a few words what J.J. Barea has meant to every here.”

Brunson’s playing time has varied this season. He made a few starts earlier in the season while Dennis Smith Jr. was out but also been glue to the bench.

But he was on the floor Friday when Barea was hurt, and he said that the loss is a big one for him personally. Barea has served as Brunson’s primary mentor this season.

“There’s more playing time for me now, but it’s definitely not the way I wanted to get it,” Brunson said. “I’m going to try to take advantage of it. I’m definitely going to keep talking to him because he’s helped me a lot and I’m going to keep picking his brain.

“He’s meant so much to me. He’s meant a lot to me. I just love having him around. I love his presence. Him and all the vets here, they do a great job of coaching me and teaching me the way to play NBA basketball. I definitely appreciate all of them, but J.J.’s meant a lot to me just being a point guard.”

Brunson was on the floor at the end of the game Sunday as Stephen Curry scored the final seven points to rally the Warriors. Curry scored 48 points, and Brunson scored 12 in 30 minutes.

Harris scored nine points in nearly 11 minutes.

The Mavs were also without Smith again Sunday as he deals with a back injury. Rhe Mavs expect Barea to return next season, but there is no timeline for his recovery.

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