It’s been a little over a week since the Dallas Mavericks arrived inside the bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, where the NBA is resuming the 2019-20 season. Although he won’t be suiting up and playing, Dwight Powell is with the team.
In recent years, Powell has become a leader in the locker room and a key figure involved with the activities of the National Basketball Players Association. When resuming the season became a reality, Powell didn’t hesitate with his decision to join his teammates.
“I’m still part of this team whether I can contribute on offense or defense,” Powell said during a Zoom call with reporters Thursday. “I’m still proud to be a Dallas Mavericks and still feel like I’m a part of this team. Once this was a reality and something that was going to take place, it wasn’t a consideration for me to not come. I wanted to be here to support the guys.”
While in Orlando, Powell’s primary focus will be on rehabilitation. He sustained a ruptured right Achilles tendon while playing the Los Angeles Clippers in late January, ending his season. Since then, he’s been working hard to prepare for next season. That continues in the bubble.
“He’s able to do pretty much everything needed in his rehab here,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s ramping up all the activity—he’s running a little faster each day; he’s doing box jumps; he’s doing a little bit more plyometric work each day; he’s able to shoot with Peter Patton, our shooting coach. He just continues to make really great progress.”
What Powell is doing at Disney isn’t any different than what he would have been doing had he stayed home. In many ways, working inside the bubble simplifies things.
“There’re no distractions,” Powell said. “It’s a very regimented schedule for me anyway. So, it’s kind of easier for me to adhere to that here in this environment.”
Powell isn’t the only Mavericks player in Orlando rehabbing. Courtney Lee joined the team a few days ago. He suffered a calf injury during the NBA’s hiatus and will not be available. Still, much like Powell, it was important for Dallas to have him in Orlando and around his teammates.
“He’d been such a positive guy for our team, really for the entire year and a half that he’s been here,” Carlisle said. “It was really great to get him immersed into kind of what we’re doing, even though he’s not practicing, to get him back around our guys again.”
The Mavericks are projecting a sense of unity and cohesion during their stay at Disney. Even though both Lee and Powell won’t be playing in the truncated eight-game season nor the playoffs, it’s clear that they’re important members and leaders of the team.
“I wanted to be here to be in practice, watch guys workout, and support them on the bench during the game,” Powell said. “There wasn’t really a question for me. As long as I’m part of this team, I want to participate in everything they have going on.”