DALLAS -- At some point on this three-game home stand, Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Shane Larkin will likely finally make his NBA debut.
The only problem is Larkin doesn't know if it'll take place tonight against Philadelphia, Wednesday against Houston or Friday against Utah.
"I'm really close,'' Larkin said after Monday's shoot around at American Airlines Center. "Whenever I walk in and see my jersey hanging in the locker that's when I'm going.
"It may be today, it may be Wedbesday, or maybe Friday. I've got to talk to the trainers. Whenever they give me the OK is when I'll go.''
Larkin fractured his right ankle on July 5 -- in the final practice before the Mavs left later that day for Las Vegas to participate in the summer league. The rookie from Miami underwent surgery on July 16, and the Mavs have been very cautious with his return to action.
"We're getting closer,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "We'll let you know.''
Larkin said he feels good and he's basically pain-free.
"After the first practice it was kind of sore, but I practiced a couple of more time since then, so my ankle is getting back used to the pounding,'' Larkin said. "I'm really anxious (to play).
"It's been a long time coming, it''s been a life-long dream just to play in the NBA. So I'm here now practicing, now the next step is to play in an NBA game.''
Whenever Larkin returns he'll be competing with rookie Gal Mekel for backup minutes behind starting point guard Jose Calderon. While Mekel has gone through the summer league, training camp, preseason and the first 10 games of the season, Larkin was busy rehabbing his ankle.
And getting farther and farther behind Mekel.
"I feel behind just because I haven't been able to prove what I can do,'' Larkin said. "I know all the plays and all that, it's just a matter of getting out there and proving yourself now.''
Starting on Nov. 4, Larkin has only gone through four practices since his surgery. His return has been a slow process, because the Mavs want to decrease the possibility of a setback.
"I've only practiced four times, so I haven't really proven myself to them.'' Larkin said. "I've got to go out and earn everything that I'm given.
"Especially coming off an injury, being a rookie and never played in an NBA game. So I have a lot to prove.''
-- Dwain Price
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