The Dallas Mavericks’ NBA title hopes may have taken a huge hit with the news that swingman Caron Butler could potentially be lost for the season.
Butler will miss at least a couple of months because of a knee injury suffered in Saturday night’s loss at Milwaukee. The first indications are that it’s a torn patellar tendon, which if true could end Butler’s season.
Butler has averaged 15.0 points in 29.9 minutes a game this season. He scored a season-high 30 points against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, one game before suffering the injury. After a slow start, he’d been particularly sharp in December, averaging almost 17 points. The Mavs have been hit hard by injuries of late. Shawn Marion returned Sunday after missing a game with a thigh contusion, but Dirk Nowitzki is still day-to-day with a sprained knee. The Mavericks have lost three of four in Nowitzki’s absence.
Marion, who’s come off the bench in all but five games this season, started at power forward on Sunday. Jason Terry started his sixth game of the year at shooting guard, pushing DeShawn Stevenson to small forward.
“It’s tough, but Shawn [Marion] will step up, and we all just have to hold the ship together,” said Stevenson, who couldn’t remember the last time he’d played small forward before being forced into duty after Butler’s injury. “We have to try everything.”
If it’s a season-ending injury, expect the Mavs to make a move because owner Mark Cuban isn’t shy about paying the luxury tax. Players like Andre Iguodala or Stephen Jackson or Rip Hamilton could be had but certainly any team would demand young point guard Roddy Beaubois in any trade – Butler’s contract expires at the end of this season so that would make him somewhat valuable.
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