Kaman hurts back in first Mavs practice

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle offered glowing reports on the physical condition of Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Elton Brand. Meanwhile, three of the younger guys, Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones and rookie Jared Cunningham, remained on the floor long after it was required. The Mavericks feel good about the work accomplished Saturday morning, the first of the day’s two-a-days on this initial weekend of training camp. 

But … 

“It was a really good practice,” Carlisle said. “We had one casualty. Chris Kaman went out with a sprained lower back. It’s not considered serious. So we’ll see how he’s doing tonight and tomorrow and go from there.” 

Brand jumped into the first-team center position at practice, which gave Carlisle a chance to note that his starting lineup — presumed to include Kaman at center upfront with Dirk and Marion and featuring newcomers Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo in the backcourt — is far from set in stone. 

Kaman’s injury might allow him to participate as early as Saturday night. So “not serious” is likely accurate. But as recently as two years ago Kaman missed 50 games due to injury. The Mavs — having given him a one-year, $8 million contract — are counting on him to serve as the best offensive center Dirk has ever teamed with. Kaman averaged 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds last season.