Injury-riddled Mavericks brace for Timberwolves (Jan 15, 2017)

BY AP • January 14, 2017

DALLAS -- Just as the Dallas Mavericks were finally at full strength after a rash of injuries to key players all season, they got more bad news.

Center Andrew Bogut is listed as out indefinitely with a right hamstring strain, according to Rick Carlisle.

Bogut, who had already missed 17 of 39 games in his first season with the struggling Mavericks, including nearly the entire month of December. After a few games back, he sat out Dallas' win Thursday against Phoenix at Mexico City. He'll miss Sunday's matinee game and an indefinite amount of time after that.

The Mavericks moved Sunday's original evening tip time so as not in overlap with the Dallas Cowboys' playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, which is slated for a 4:40 p.m. ET kickoff.

Bogut's injury didn't figure to keep him out long, but now Dallas isn't sure when he'll rejoin the lineup.

"He's probably out for the foreseeable near future," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters following Saturday's practice. "We don't consider this serious. But we want to make sure that he's not only feeling good, but he's got his legs under him a little bit before we put him back out there."

The Mavericks have not set a timetable for Bogut's return. Part of it precautionary because Dallas has dealt with recurring injuries to forward Dirk Nowitzki and guard J.J. Barea, with both players missing additional shortly after coming back from an initial injury.

"I hope it's not too long," Carlisle said. "But we don't want to mess around with this."

The combination of injuries is part of the reason the Mavericks enter Sunday's game with a 12-27 record, two spots below the suddenly hot Timberwolves (14-26). Minnesota is riding a season-best three-game win streak that started with a victory over Dallas in the two teams' first meeting of the season. Then followed impressive wins against Houston and Oklahoma City.

All three wins came by nine points or more with the last two wins both by double-digits. The Wolves could use a good start to this three-game road trip with games at San Antonio and the Los Angeles Clippers coming up next.

"We've got a lot of guys who are putting the work in and are improving," Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeaux told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune after Friday's win at Oklahoma City. "But we still have a long way to go. We're nowhere where we need to be."

The youthful Timberwolves are certainly stacked with intriguing talent, even if the wins haven't come as often as had hoped. Perhaps this winning streak is the first signs of better days ahead. Ricky Rubio, now a veteran leader of the team, has dished off 46 assists and just nine turnovers during the streak.

He had 14 points and 14 assists in the win over the Thunder. Karl-Anthony Towns was unstoppable with 29 points and 17 rebounds.

"I'm playing better, I'm feeling better," Rubio told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "The results are there, but I don't want to be a four-game stand, I want to be all season long like that. It's hard, we have a lot of games, but my expectations are high and I'm going to keep them high, because I worked hard to do it."



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