The Dallas Mavericks are banged up. Three key rotation players remain out, but there’s hope that at least two are on the mend and could return to action sometime on the team’s upcoming five-game road trip.
Josh Green is one of those players. He has been out with a right elbow sprain since December 10, missing 15 consecutive games, including Saturday’s matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans. However, he started doing contact drills and says he’s progressing well.
“I feel good,” Green told reporters after a film session Friday. “I started doing contact and whatnot now for the last two days. It feels good. It’s been tough just because we’ve had so many games in this three-week span, where there’s not so many practice days where I’m able to hop in on drills and whatnot.
“So, we’re just going to continue with this, see how the elbow feels, put it in situations that technically could be vulnerable, see how it goes through that, and just continue to develop it day by day.”
Since returning to contact drills, Green says he’s had no adverse effects. He feels like he still has the bounce he did before getting injured.
“I feel great,” Green said. “I feel great going into it. I don’t feel like I really lost a step or anything. I feel confident still out there. I just need to continue to keep that up [and] keep working. I play hard, so just making sure I’m good to go back playing like that.”
It’s an encouraging sign for the Mavericks. Green, Dorian Finney-Smith (right adductor strain), and Maxi Kleber (right hamstring tear) have all missed significant time rehabbing their injuries. Head coach Jason Kidd sees them progressing.
“We have Josh working, playing one-on-one with contact,” Kidd said. “So, that’s a good sign. Maxi was out there moving a little bit too. So, a lot of good things for us on the floor.”
Green’s injury occurred on December 9 in Dallas as the Mavericks hosted the Milwaukee Bucks. In the first half, he got tangled up with the Bucks’ Grayson Allen while trying to force a turnover. He knew right away that something was wrong.
“I got the steal out of bounds defection, and my arm kind of got arm locked by Grayson Allen,” Green said. “It kind of got stuck and whatnot. It hurt a lot. I couldn’t really shoot too much in the second half. It’s why I tried to get to the basket as much as I could.”
Even though Green has been working on getting his elbow where it needs to be for weeks now, he still isn’t sure when he may return to game action.
“There’s no exact timetable,” Green said. “I’m traveling on this trip. I’ve been wanting to play every single game now, but it’s making sure I’m doing everything that’s right for the team: Communicating with the strength staff, coaching staff, and the treatment room. It’s a lot of things that go into it. I just need to make sure that I’m ready for when I do play.”