DALLAS — The news the Dallas Mavericks were hoping wouldn’t be delivered, but privately feared Saturday night, was confirmed today. Starting small forward Caron Butler is going to miss the rest of the season after having surgery Tuesday to repair a ruptured right patellar tendon.
NBA.com first reported the possibility of Butler suffering a patella tear after the Mavericks lost Saturday night at Milwaukee. Butler was injured in the first quarter of that game.
The Mavericks, a team with title aspirations, now begin to seriously weigh their options going forward without their third-leading scorer. They have several options. It could look internally to fill the void — Shawn Marion likely moves into the starting lineup and getting injured second-year guard Roddy Beaubois is key. Dallas recently recalled rookie guard Dominique Jones from the D-League.
“We will ask other guys to step up,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told NBA.com.
The Mavs could also apply for a disabled player exception. The injury exception would be worth half of Butler’s salary, approximately $5.3 million, and would allow the Mavs to trade or sign a player up to that amount. Dallas would have 45 days to use the injury exception if it’s granted.
A trade to strengthen either the bench or the starting lineup could be a possibility. Butler, being on the last year of his contract, could be used in possible trade as salary cap relief.
The Mavs (25-8) are second in the Western Conference and return to action tonight against Portland (18-16) at American Airlines Center. Dallas is also without Dirk Nowitzki, who’s out for the fifth straight game with a sprained right knee.
Butler’s surgery was performed by team physician Dr. T.O. Souryal at Texas Sports Medicine in Dallas.
Caron Butler checks in from the hospital via his Twitter feed.