Mavericks aren’t sure when Odom will return

Last Wednesday, before the Dallas Mavericks took on the Los Angeles Lakers in their final game before the All-Star break, Lamar Odom took a leave of absence from the team to tend to a family situation.

And now, a week later, the Mavericks are still without their power forward — and they’re not sure when they will get him back.

“Lamar’s going to not be with us these two games, and then we’ll update everybody on Thursday as to where we’re at,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Tuesday in a Dallas Morning News report, while confirming Odom would miss Wednesday’s game at Memphis. “He’s got a tough situation he’s going through. We’re very supportive as a franchise. And we’ll let you know Thursday where we are.”

It was reported last week that Odom was tending to his ill father, Joe, which caused him to miss the game against the Lakers — although cameras from TMZ caught up with Joe Odom in Los Angeles two days later, when he said in a video posted on the website that he had a stomach virus and was not gravely ill.

Owner Mark Cuban had to address rumors on Tuesday night after the team lost to the New Jersey Nets 93-92 that the Mavericks were looking to buy out Odom’s contract. Despite refuting the claim, Cuban did not have an answer on when Odom would return.

“He’s got to figure things out, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Cuban said, according to a Dallas Morning News report. “I expect him back, yeah.

“We want him to contribute. It doesn’t do us any good if he’s gone. It doesn’t buy us anything to buy him out. That [$2.4 million] is not enough of a reason. I like what he can do for the team a lot more than I like that money.”

Last season’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Odom is averaging career lows in every major statistical category in his 13th season. His scoring average has dropped from 14.4 points per game last season with the Lakers to just 7.7 this year. He also is pulling down more than 4 rebounds less per game than he did last year.