The Dallas Mavericks will not gain a big man tonight, as originally thought, as Amar'e Stoudemire has joined the team but will not play Thursday against the Thunder, or Friday against the Rockets. Instead, Rick Carlisle says the F/C will take a few days to get acclimated, before debuting Sunday against Charlotte. Stoudemire averaged about 24 minutes per game this season with the Knicks, but will probably not see that much time with Dallas, especially early on.
On the injury front, Dallas desperately needed some rest heading into the All Star break, and it seems that for one starter, the break was enough to get back into the lineup. Rajon Rondo will make his return to the lineup Thursday against Oklahoma City, after missing six games due to a fractured orbital bone courtesy of Richard Jefferson. J.J. Barea has been starting in place of Rondo over the past six games, and has averaged 13.1 points and 5.8 assists in a shade under 32 minutes per game.The jury is still out on whether Rondo will wear a Rip Hamilton/Phantom of the Opera mask, but one can only hope.
While Barea was serviceable in the short-term, Dallas will be happy to see Rondo back on the court, as his defense will be needed against Russell Westbrook.
Starting center Tyson Chandler should also play tonight, according to Carlisle, after recovering from a turned ankle. The Mavs are not a good rebounding team, but Chandler ranks No. 6 in the league pulling down 11.8 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City is the best rebounding team in the NBA, pulling down 46.5 boards per game.
The break was also good for some Mavs who hadn't missed time, specifically Monta Ellis and Devin Harris. Ellis suffered a hip injury against the Clippers, and while he played 37 minutes against Utah, the week off gave him time to get back to 100%. Harris noted after the Clippers game that he probably would have taken a game off to mend a sprained ankle had Rondo not already been out of the lineup. Both should be closer to, if not fully, 100% after the week off.