At morning shootaround at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday, most of the injured Mavericks showed clear signs of life on the far end of the court.
Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams and JaVale McGee all participated in several games of 3-on-3, taking some contact and generally playing hard. Matthews looked best, aggressively looking for shots, cutting different directions off of screens and even getting knocked to the floor once before popping back up, never looking hesitant of his rehabbed ankle.
Rick Carlisle said that Matthews, who has insisted all offseason that he'll be ready by opening night, hasn't been ruled out of the final two preseason games for Dallas on Wednesday and Friday. Carlisle also repeated his understanding that Williams wouldn't play in preseason, something he said earlier in the week, although he hedged his bets by saying he'd have to talk to trainer Casey Smith.
For McGee, who briefly spoke to media after shootaround, he said it was the first 3-on-3 game he'd participated in in six months. He admitted he was winded and generally looked a bit rusty, although he kept up well in the game and dunked a couple of times.
Parsons, who also dunked emphatically once cutting down the lane, is also clearly close to returning, although it's hard to say whether he's quite as far along as Matthews. Throughout training camp, it appears that Matthews had caught Parsons in the recovery and perhaps passed him, despite a more severe surgery. (To be fair, Matthews' surgery occurred nearly two months before Parsons' did.)
At this point, I believe it's more likely than not that Matthews plays opening night, while Williams will likely be ready for that day, too. Parsons may not be ready by Oct. 28, but my guess is that his recovery wouldn't stretch too far into November. But again, those are only thoughts from what I've seen.
You can see a bit of footage from the spirited 3-on-3 games here.
Potentially 80% of the Mavs eventual starting lineup -- all rehabbing guys -- are part of this 3-on-3 game. pic.twitter.com/pm219sJwKz— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 21, 2015
Mavs play some 3-on-3. pic.twitter.com/61Zyy2b4NR— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) October 21, 2015