Monta Ellis continues to show the Dallas Mavericks’ medical staff that he’s operating with a different motor than they’re accustomed to.
When Ellis sprained his left knee in practice last Thursday, the Mavericks said he would miss at least two games and listed him as day-to-day. But they never figured the ninth-year guard would be back at practice on Monday.
“We started out with the idea that he was just going to do non-contact [drills],” coach Rick Carlisle said after Monday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “But he felt good and wanted to keep going, so he went through the entire practice [Monday], which is great.”
Even center Tyson Chandler was surprised.
“I didn’t know he was practicing,” Chandler said. “He really did great.”
The Mavericks have seen a speedy recovery from Ellis in the past.
Two days after straining his right hamstring in a 103-81 win over Utah last Feb. 7, the Mavs expected Ellis to sit out most, if not all, of a three-game road trip that started in Boston less than 48 hours later.
But Ellis was in the starting lineup against the Celtics. In fact, he was the only one to play in all 82 Mavericks games last season, averaging 19 points and a team-high 5.7 assists. He has played in 164 consecutive regular-season games.
Carlisle wouldn’t say if he plans to play Ellis in both ends of the Mavs’ back-to-back road games Friday in Cleveland and Saturday in Indiana.
“He’s been extremely durable,” Carlisle said. “We hope we get to tomorrow in good shape, but he’s a resilient guy. He’s been having a great camp, and so it’s important that he’s back in there and keeping the momentum going.”
Forward Charlie Villanueva said he hasn’t heard if he’s made enough of an impression to gain a spot on the Mavs’ 15-man roster.
“Until I hear those words I’ve got to keep pushing,” Villanueva said. “I’m still hungry, man.”
Villanueva’s contract isn’t guaranteed, so the Mavs would have to trade a player or eat the contract of a player with a guaranteed contract to make room for him. In Sunday’s 106-98 win over Indiana, the ninth-year veteran only played 11 minutes – all in the fourth quarter – but finished with a team-high tying 16 points while making 4-of-6 3-point shots.
“He’s got a knack for getting open and he does a great job of stepping into shots, so he’s doing his job right now,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve got about two more weeks to go, but he’s got a lot of momentum going right now.”
Mavs on course
The Mavs host their annual Mavs Masters golf tournament today at Hackberry Creek Country Creek.
The event, which is for the players, coaches, staff and team sponsors, is closed to the public.