DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks player whose patience has been severely tested the most this season is Raymond Felton.
The 10-year veteran guard has been sidelined with a high right ankle sprain he suffered during an Oct. 10 preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Felton went through some half court practice drills with the Mavs on Friday at American Airlines Center, but said his ankle is just not where he wants it to be before he can return to the active list.
"It felt fine, it felt OK,’’ Felton said. "It’s not quite 100%, but I’m about 92 (percent).
"I did a lot of live stuff today half court. Nothing full court yet, but a little half court stuff, and it felt good.’’
Whenever the Mavs activate Felton, he must immediately serve a four-game suspension handed down by the NBA because he pleaded guilty to a gun charge for an incident this past February in New York while he was playing for the Knicks. The suspension, combined with the injury, is testing Felton’s patience even more.
"I knew what I had to deal with before I got (the injury), so when I got the injury that made me extra mad because I already knew that I had to sit out games and I’ve got to sit out even more games once the regular season starts,’’ Felton said. "But it is what it is.
"I can’t even worry about it. I’ve got to be here for these guys, mentally right now, (and) stay strong myself.’’
Staying strong for himself has been a challenge thus far for Felton.
"It is because you want to be out there, you want to contribute to the team,’’ he said. "I just want to be out there and be on the court with them.
"Even in practice it felt good to be out there today with them.’’
But not good enough for Felton to be placed on the active roster, although he envisions it could happen in time for Saturday’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"I’ve been doing a lot before the games, doing a lot of one-on-one stuff, a lot of off the dribble stuff,’’ he said. "It’s been feeling good, so we’ll see what happens.
"Maybe I’ll start tomorrow. We’ll see.’’
If this was Game 7 of a playoff series, Felton insist he would be in uniform and ready to play.
"I’d fight through it,’’ Felton said. "It’s still sore, it’s going to be sore even when I come back.
"It’s just a matter of me getting my confidence in my foot -- that’s all it is. And that’s a part of me coming out here and doing some live stuff with the team and seeing how it feels.’’
The Mavs acquired Felton from the Knicks this past June 25 in a trade which also brought Tyson Candler back to Dallas.
Whenever Felton is finished with his suspension, he’ll have to find a way to fight Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris and JJ Barea for some minutes at point guard. Or he’ll have to try to acquire some minutes if the Mavs decide to use him some at shooting guard.
Fitting in wherever possible on this veteran-laden team obviously has crossed Felton’s mind.
"That’s something I look at, but that’s also something you’ve got to figure out once you get back and you get on the court,’’ he said. "Right now we’ve got a good rhythm going, we’re playing well.
"So wherever I fit in, wherever coach puts me in, that’s where I fit in at.’’