Earl K. Sneed reports from the Mavericks' Wednesday practice, where the team was pleased to see second-year guard Roddy Beaubois' sweet jump shot again.
DALLAS — After injuries ravaged the Mavericks’ lineup over the last 1 1/2 weeks, the team saw a welcomed sight when it returned to the practice court Wednesday morning.
Just a day after forward Caron Butler underwent a likely season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured right patellar tendon, the Mavericks were at least able to find comfort in the fact that second-year guard Roddy Beaubois was able to elevate his rehabilitation from a fractured left foot.
Beaubois, who had been reduced to shooting set shots and free throws, was permitted by the team doctor and the training staff to begin jump shooting. And the young Frenchman wasted no time getting back to displaying the sweet stroke that Mavericks fans have longed to see this season.
During a 3-point shootout with swingman DeShawn Stevenson and rookie Dominique Jones, Beaubois showed why he may very well be the best shooter on the team, winning the competition even after being out of competitive basketball since the NBA’s Summer League in July.
“I can jump on my shot, and week by week I’m gonna add some things,” Beaubois said. “I feel good…Right now, we’ve just added that I can jump on my jump shot. That’s it.”
“He’s just a great shooter,” Stevenson said of his young teammate. “He can score the ball, and we need him on the court. I really like his game.”
Beaubois, who injured the foot while training with the French National Team for last fall’s World Championships admitted, however, that his conditioning is still a long ways away from game-ready. And with another doctor’s appointment scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, the cat-quick guard is excited to see what’s next in his comeback process.
The deadly-shooting assassin may be needed even more once he returns to the floor, with Butler’s injury coupled by the announcement Wednesday by the team that 3-point specialist Steve Novak was waived.
“It’s big, because I’ve been on the floor for so long. Now, I can go up. It’s the first step, and I’m happy about that. Now, the conditioning is gonna be hard. I can feel that I’m getting tired real quickly. But it’s normal, so I just need to work on it,” Beaubois explained.
“He’s on the court doing a few things, but we’re a long way from talking about him being ready for playing,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added.
And obviously, neither Beaubois nor his head coach wants to rush No. 3 back. Not after back-to-back wins by the team, both without Butler and leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki, which shows there’s no need to put even more on the 22-year-old’s shoulders.
“I want to be 100 percent when I come back,” the native of the French Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe added. “I don’t want to re-injure myself. For sure, with Caron out, I want to come back to the team. But I think it’s better to be careful. I still need more time.”
Meanwhile, with Beaubois still not ready to go and Nowitzki listed as day-to-day due to a sprained right knee that has keep him out of the last five games, Stevenson says that he will be ready to help lead the team against the Oklahoma City Thunder for a third time.
Stevenson has averaged just below 20 points in the last two games. And with the sharpshooter finding success from deep of late, the Mavericks will try to sweep the season series with the Thunder after two wins earlier this season in Oklahoma City Arena. The latter, a 103-93 road victory on Dec. 27, was the game in which the Mavs lost Nowitzki once he awkwardly came down after being fouled while draining a jumper in the first half.
When the nine-time All-Star went down, his teammates rallied together and snatched a win. And since ending a three-game losing skid, the team has collected those back-to-back victories, including Tuesday night’s 84-81 home defeat of Portland, led by No. 92.
Stevenson knows that just like in the last two outings he and his teammates will have to collectively pick up the slack if Nowitzki is unable to go, especially with no Butler and Beaubois still inching closer to a return.
“I think they [the Thunder] are gonna come out strong,” Stevenson said. ”They know we don’t have Dirk. I mean, we had Dirk to start (on Dec. 27), and he left at halftime. So, they’ll probably come in feeling that they can win that game. So, we’ve got to just come out on that court and just try to do the things that we can do.”
Note: The Mavericks return to the American Airlines Center Thursday night as they continue their three-game homestand against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks snatched both games played in Oklahoma City this season and will try to sweep the season series. The Thunder-Mavericks matchup will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing nationally on TNT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting the American Airlines Center box office, logging on to Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS (6287).
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