Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks notes: Mekel sidelined following right knee surgery

Four days after complaining about soreness in his right knee, rookie point guard Gal Mekel underwent successful arthroscopic surgery Friday in Dallas.

No timetable has been set for Mekel’s return.

Mekel complained during Monday’s game against Orlando after experiencing pain in his knee. Following an examination, it was determined that the rookie from Israel had a torn lateral meniscus.

“It was a successful surgery to address a meniscus situation,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t have the timeline for his return, but I did speak to him [Friday] afternoon and he sounded good.

“He’s excited that the thing has been resolved and he’s going to work through the rehab.”

With Mekel out, rookie Shane Larkin is the primary backup to starting point guard Jose Calderon. Veteran Devin Harris, however, is expected to return soon as he continues to recover from off-season foot surgery.

“It’s just nice to have a guy that’s been there, knows us, knows how to play, pushes the ball and can create a shot,” owner Mark Cuban said of Harris. “That’ll take some pressure off Dirk [Nowitzki] and Monta [Ellis] as well, and it’ll be easier for Jose and give us some better defensive options.”

Unlike Calderon, Larkin or Mekel, the Mavs know Harris is a solid perimeter defender.

“Devin is getting closer,” Carlisle said. “We’ll keep an eye on that.

“In the meantime, Larkin’s got to give us some solid minutes off the bench.”

Mavs physician Dr. T.O. Souryal performed the surgery on Mekel, who averaged 2.4 points and 2.1 assists in 9.6 minutes per game. Meanwhile, Carlisle has no doubt that Mekel will recover without any long-term issues.

“We’ve got the best surgeon in the NBA,” Carlisle said. “He operated on my knee and I’m walking around and feeling pretty good, so Gal will do fine.”

Blown leads

With Wednesday’s 129-127 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Mavs have now lost four games this season when they’ve held at least a 17-point lead. They’re hoping the heartbreaking setbacks could be a teaching tool down the road.

“Our goal is to make the playoffs, and we’re still right there,” Nowitzki said. “But those losses we did have were some of the toughest I’ve ever had in my 16-year career. Some of those heartbreakers we’ve had already this year have been tough.

“So hopefully it brings us closer together and gets us better for the second half of the season.”

Nelson likes Ellis’ edge

Guard Monta Ellis came to the Mavs this summer via free agency with a bit of an edge to his game. But Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations, was OK with that.

“I like edge,” Nelson said. “I think that’s something. I don’t know of many guys that play with his kind of passion every night.

“It’s really [Allen] Iverson-esque in a lot of ways. The way that he puts himself out there, it’s inspiring to everyone else.”

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