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Chandler Parsons may start the season, Wesley Matthews won't

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Parsons is closer to being cleared to play than Matthews, who could be out past Christmas.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks will be missing at least one starter when the season begins on Oct. 28, with head coach Rick Carlisle confirming at Mavericks media day that summer acquisition Wesley Matthews won't be ready by opening night.

Chandler Parsons, who underwent surgery on May 1 to repair cartilage damage, could make the season opener, although his status is still up in the air. His rehab will have him back sooner than Matthews, though.

"My hope and my goal is to be ready when we play Phoenix (in the season opener)," Parsons said. "Obviously, I can't make any promises. From the day I had the surgery, it's what I've wanted to do. Missing the playoffs last year against Houston was frustrating. But my hope is to come back and be ready for the Suns game."

Until it was reported Sunday, the exact details of Parsons' surgery had not been revealed. His surgery was a minor, hybrid microfracture surgery on a non-weight-bearing part of his knee, which dramatically lessened the recovery time of a true microfracture procedure.

"I would say there's a chance that Parsons plays in the opener from my understanding," Carlisle said. "By NBA standards, we're light years from knowing if that's a real possibility or not."

Matthews' timetable is more nebulous. Matthews tore his Achilles with the Trail Blazers last March and has been recovering ever since. Even though he told Mavs Moneyball he would be ready for the season opener, it's been unlikely that he would make that initial game, given the nature of his injury. We spoke with a doctor who treats Achilles in July who explained what exactly Matthews is going through.

"Wes is going to take a little longer," Carlisle said. "He's not going to want to tell you that and we're going to have to fight to keep him off the court, but we've got to make sure we do this the right way and that he's really 100 percent healthy before getting in."

As for a timeline? Say, Christmas?

"I'd say there's a possibility -- I'd say it's a definite maybe," Carlisle said, drawing a few laughs. "It could be sooner. It's hard to say. He was cleared for an increase in activity a week ago. His court activity has been ramped up some. He will participate in certain aspects of training camp but nothing live to start off."

Matthews, for his part, continues to say his goal is to be ready by opening day, even if that's unrealistic.

"I'm trying to be ready by opening day," Matthews said. "Whether I can play in it or not, I can't really control that. But my goal is to ready and available opening day."

As for his current workload, Matthews described it as this: "Everything but contact. I'm obviously not at 100 percent full throttle sprints. But I'm jumping and running and ball-handling and shooting. A lot of stuff other than contact."

Parsons talked about his workload, too, saying that he is running on the treadmill and dunked for the first time last week.

"I'm like a kid in a candy shop every time they tell me I can do things," Parsons said. "First it was a layup while slapping glass and I was so happy. Then jump shots and yeah, I dunked last week for the first time (since the surgery). Like I said, it's been frustrating, it's been annoying, but at the end of the day it'll be good."

Parsons said when he first went in, his recovery time was going to be a lot longer before it was discovered that only minor surgery would be needed.