With the playoffs right around the corner, the Dallas Mavericks are adjusting to news that forward Chandler Parsons will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki said the team learned of Parsons’ impending surgery on Monday night, and the fifth-year veteran was crestfallen.
“He was pretty crushed last night, obviously, and we’re disappointed for him, but I think he’ll be fine,” Nowitzki said. “I think this is a smaller surgery, obviously, than he did last summer. I think he’ll be back to 100 percent.”
The news came before the Mavericks were to depart for Portland, where they will begin a four-game road trip at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Parsons will not be on hand.
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“I’m very disappointed for Chandler that this has happened,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “But we’re going to make it work with the guys that we have available and we’ve got to go from there.
“We’ve got 13 active guys and these are the guys we’re going to go to war with for the last 12 games.”
Parsons, who signed a three-year, $46 million free agent contract with the Mavericks in the summer of 2014, missed Sunday’s game against Portland after he injured his knee Friday against Golden State. At that time, the Mavericks gave no indication that the injury was potentially season ending.
But that has changed.
“Obviously, the team heard yesterday and I’m just disappointed for him, because he worked so hard coming back,” Nowitzki said. “He worked through some frustrations earlier in the season when he was on a minutes restriction and I could see it in his face — he wanted to do more and more. Finally I think the last two or two and a half months he was playing some of the best ball of his career.
“He looked good, he was pain-free, and he shot the ball really well, so this is a little setback for him.”
The news sent shock waves through the organization as it battles to stay in the hunt for the postseason, which starts in less than a month. Losing the team’s third-leading scorer won’t help.
“Any time injuries happen, especially to one of your best players, other guys have to step up,” point guard Deron Williams said. “Chandler means a lot to this team on both ends of the floor, and the different matchup problems he presents helped us a lot. So without him we’ve got to fill the void in a lot of different areas.”
This is the second year a right knee injury has ended Parsons’ season. Last year the 6-foot-10, 230-pounder missed the final four games of the first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets.
Parsons had a hybrid micro-fracture surgery May 1 on the knee but had bounced back and played impressively lately.
“We’re disappointed, obviously, for our team not having one of our best players, and for Chandler, who’s put in an incredible amount of work into getting back,” Carlisle said. “We’ve just got to make it work with the guys we have available.”
In 61 games this season, Parsons averaged 13.7 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from 3-point territory. The Mavericks also are 6-3 in games Parsons has missed this season.
Without Parsons, Carlisle said players such as Charlie Villanueva, Dwight Powell, Justin Anderson and Salas Mejri will have to fill the void. Parson’ injury and the recent season-ending shoulder surgery for forward Jeremy Evans leaves the Mavericks with 13 players.
“Some guys positionally are going to bump to different positions and the trickle-down effect is going to be wide-ranging,” said Carlisle.
Williams has a pair of a 30-point plus games against the Blazers this season, and knows another one might be needed against the Blazers.
“I’ve just got to be more aggressive,” Williams said. “Just do a good job of balancing the offense and getting guys involved and getting shots where they need to go, and then being aggressive myself to score.
“Hopefully we’ll rally — that’s the plan. We don’t want to just lay down because a guy gets injured.”