DALLAS --Coaches normally pick one preseason game they use as their dress rehearsal game before the regular season starts.
It's a game where fans will see some semblance of the rotation the team will use during the regular season. Therein lies the rub for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs were without their starting point guard -- Jose Calderon -- during their first four preseason games. Calderon will play his first game Saturday against Charlotte, and Dallas severely needs to get some chemistry developed between the veteran playmaker and the other starters.
But coach Rick Carlisle usually rests his veterans for at least one preseason game. And with only four games left, Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Samuel Dalembert have yet to enjoy their one-game off.
That leaves Carlisle scrambling to find out when to rest the veterans, and when to get them the necessary on-court work with Calderon before the regular season starts Oct. 30. Indeed, it's a fine line Carlisle has to walk.
"The last couple of games usually looks more like the real rotation,'' Carlisle said of home games next week against Atlanta and Indiana. "But for us, some of it is health-related in terms of what we can do and who's available.
"So we’ll have to see.''
With Calderon back, the Mavs are currently without Devin Harris (toe), Shane Larkin (ankle) Brandan Wright (shoulder) and Ricky Ledo (ankle).
After the game against Charlotte, the Mavs (2-2) play at Houston on Monday, then host Atlanta on Wednesday before closing out preseason play at home against Indiana on Oct. 25.
"The hope is that we can get Jose back in here and get him playing on Saturday, get him playing Monday, Wednesday and (Oct. 25),'' Carlisle said. "That would be good if we can do that, and it looks like we've got a chance.''
As far as when that rest will come for the veterans, Carlisle said: "The important thing in these games is the guys get the right amount of work and then you get them shut down so that they can
ice and get ready for the next day’s practice or whatever it is.
"That’s kind of the approach we’ve taken, and as we get close to the end of the exhibition season we’ll play guys more like what real minutes will be and we’ll just go from there.''
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter