said center Erick Dampier (shoulder) will participate in full practice Tuesday for the first time this season. Dampier had shoulder surgery during the offseason and it's been a long, slow climb to get back on the court.
The Mavs have not fared well in the rebounding category and they'll be glad to get him back. Don't be surprised if Dampier comes off the bench, keeping DeSagana Diop in the starting role. Johnson has talked a lot about trying to keep a consistent lineup, which is why J.J. Barea has started in Harris' absence.
Meanwhile, Johnson seemed a bit frustrated with the slow progress of Devean George. George has what's called a stress reaction in his left foot, the precursor to stress fracture. He recently started running on the treadmill and was hopeful he was getting closer to rejoining practice.
Brandon Bass could be a sorely missed player tonight if a sprained left ankle keeps him out. As he limped off the court after testing the ankle during Monday's morning shootaround, he said he wasn't sure if he would play.
Bass has been solid in the Mavs' first three games and the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder would be a key defender and rebounder against the Rockets' big front line. The Mavs are already without center Erick Dampier (shoulder), their best offensive rebounder, and 6-8 Devean George (foot). Devin Harris (thigh) is a game-time decision.
The third-year forward out of LSU twisted the ankle on one of his big blocks in the third quarter Saturday against the Kings. He came back in so the injury didn't appear to be anything significant.
Devin Harris participated in the team's morning shootaround Monday, but he's a game-time decision tonight against the Rockets, who are 3-0.
Harris has a thigh bruise that took him out of the second quarter Friday night in Atlanta and forced him to miss Saturday's home opener against the Kings. The big test to determine if Harris will play tonight didn't come during shootaround, but after when he was headed to do some running.
If he comes out of that pleased with the pain level, then he'll most likely play.
Well whattyaknow, J.J. Barea is the Mavs' starting point guard with Devin Harris sitting on the bench in a very nice suit, mind you.
Devin's resting the left thigh contusion he suffered against the Hawks when Josh Smith's knee slammed into him.
As for Harris, he's still hoping to play Monday against the Rockets, but as he was lifting weights he said, "Don't quote me on that." He said he hasn't tried to run yet and he won't know for sure if he can play until he does.
Devin Harris is out of the game for the second half with a left thigh contusion. He got hurt in the second quarter when Josh Smith barreled into him on a fast break. Smith was called for the offensive foul and Harris went hard to the floor, but was able to walk off on his own.
So who's the original J-Ho? Well, technically, it's Juwan Howard on two counts: he's older than Josh and he played for the Mavs first.
Anyway, J-Ho (Josh) we know isn't playing tonight because of his suspension. J-Ho (Juwan) should play. Avery Johnson loves to be coy with his lineup and wouldn't divulge if he would play the veteran power forward. Avery said he had a plan, as usual, but wasn't ready to divulge it.
So, of course J-Ho (Juwan) will play. The interesting aspect will be to see how much time Brandon Bass gets, not just tonight but as the season moves forward. Avery likes Bass' potential a lot, but admits the kid is raw and not game savvy.
J-Ho (Juwan) gives Avery everything he likes: professionalism and experience.
Josh Howard will sit out the second of his two-game suspension tonight in Atlanta, but he'll definitely be in the starting lineup for Saturday's home opener against the Kings. His left wrist injury is good enough to go.
Making his debut against Brad Miller, the player Howard shoved his forerarm into to draw the suspension, should add some fire to the game.
Not sure how much of a fight the Kings will provide otherwise. Point guard and one-time Mav killer Mike Bibby is out for a long while with an injury and Ron Artest is serving a seven-game suspension, so good luck with that.
Of course, it will be a back-to-back for the Mavs, well all but Josh Howard.
Juwan Howard will join the Mavs for practice in Atlanta tomorrow and could suit up for the game against the Hawks Friday night.
Avery Johnson said Howard provides a solid, big guy who can play defense and hit an open shot when needed. Johnson also played up the fact that the 34-year-old Howard could school the 22-year-old Brandon Bass.
"That's something that we visited about," Johnson said. "One of the things I shared with him is, four or five years from now when you're not playing, one of your biggest victories [will be] did you help develop anybody else? So we want him to help us develop him."
DeSagana Diop spent the first four years of his career in Cleveland, four hard, long years toiling on the bench.
He said his third trip back since joining the Mavericks isn't as meaningful as his first two return visits since the coaching staff and front office has turned over, but he did play with some of the Cavs like LeBron and Ira Newble.
Folks around here still remember the jolly 7-footer. One arena worker came over and gave him a high-five as Diop iced down his knees after the morning shootaround.
And Diop said he got stopped on the street last night by a Cavs fan.
"Somebody told me that if we had you we could have beaten the Spurs, or at least gotten closer," Diop said. "I guess you don't know what you have until it's gone."