HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — The Dallas Mavericks received injury news they didn’t need Tuesday afternoon. The team confirmed that small forward Shawn Marion has a sprained left medial collateral ligament. He will miss at least the next three games before being re-evaluated next week.
Marion, 34, sustained the injury in the second half of Monday night’s 114-91 win against the Portland Trail Blazers. He’s been ultra-durable during his time in Dallas and is again, by far, the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 9.0 a game to go with 8.0 points. On a team in flux, Marion had been the only starter from the last two seasons to be in the starting lineup through all four games this season.
Dallas is already without star Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) for a couple more weeks and backup point guard Rodrigue Beaubois remains day-to-day with a sprained ankle. Center Chris Kaman returned to the lineup last Saturday after nursing a calf injury for two weeks.
To replace the versatile Marion in the starting lineup, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle can turn to sixth man Vince Carter or call on impressive rookie Jae Crowder, last year’s Big East Player of the Year and the No. 34 overall draft pick. Crowder has played more like a confident lottery pick than a second-rounder, having earned rare playing time for a newbie under Carlisle.
The rugged, 6-foot-6, 235-pound Crowder is averaging 8.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 19.3 minutes. He’s shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent (7-for-15) from beyond the arc. Along the way he’s filled up quite a bandwagon of fans.
When Crowder and his trademark dreadlocks didn’t see any action in the first half of Monday’s game, Mavs fans nearly blew up Twitter with incredulous tweets regarding his unpopular absence. In 14 minutes of second-half action, Crowder had nine points, two boards and a steal.
Afterward when told of the Twitter uprising, Crowder playfully shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
With Marion now out, incredulous tweets won’t be necessary.