Plan for Rodrigue Beaubois delayed
Foot injury keeps guard out of action, prevents Mavs from accelerating his progress
DALLAS -- When it comes to going under the knife, there's nothing wrong with calling in Mom.
Yet, Rodrigue Beaubois refused his mother's persistent pleas to be by his side in Dallas for his Aug. 13 surgery in which a pin was placed in his left foot days after he broke his fifth metatarsal bone during a practice with the French national team.
The injury eliminated him from playing in the just-concluded FIBA World Championships, what would have been his first international competition, and wiped out an important training camp as he enters his anticipated second season with the Dallas Mavericks.
"My mom wanted to come so bad, but I don't like that. I don't like to feel like I can't do anything. It wasn't like I couldn't move or anything like that," Beaubois said. "It wasn't that big of a deal, and other people were there to help me."
Beaubois found out the Mavs love their lanky, soft-spoken, French-speaking, great-Guadeloupian-hope almost as much as his dear mother. Everyone from president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson to assistant athletic trainer Dionne Calhoun came to visit, ran errands for him and delivered whatever the 22-year-old needed while laid up at his Dallas condominium.
Even during the course of a 20-minute interview outside the team locker room at American Airlines Center, love was on full display for the kid. Coach Rick Carlisle -- yes, even Carlisle shows the love -- stopped by to talk up how impressive Beaubois was at his hometown summer basketball camp. Carlisle was there to lend a hand.
Moments later came Calhoun, who has spent more time with Beaubois over the past month than anyone else in the organization. Calhoun pushes Beaubois through a daily regimen to help keep his conditioning up for a return that Beaubois and the club hopes will be in time for the season opener Oct. 27.
Calhoun gave Beaubois a look and then put his hand around the top of the big, blue protective walking boot fastened to Beaubois' left leg and gave it a little tug.
"Just want to make sure it doesn't fall off during your interview," Calhoun joked.
Assistant coach Darrell Armstrong then strolled by and couldn't contain himself.
"You got to talk English to him," Armstrong said slowly, with extra annunciation on each syllable for effect. The former point guard stays on Beaubois 24/7 to speak clearly and loudly, in English, so that it eventually translates onto the basketball court as Beaubois trains to become the club's next point guard.
"I'm trying," Beaubois said, flashing a broad smile. "It's tough."
Yes, everybody loves Roddy. And his mom, Roselys, and his dad, Gabriel, are now getting a first-hand look. Beaubois finally granted permission to his parents to visit for just the second time since he joined the team. They're in town for another week.
"I just wanted her to come and enjoy Dallas, do more than just take care of me," Beaubois said. "We've been to the mall and some good restaurants."
Beaubois is clearly more comfortable in the big city now and he speaks much better English today than he did a year ago as a newcomer to U.S. soil. He still speaks with a thick French accent that can be difficult to decipher at times and he still tries to conjure up the correct word by looking to the sky and fiddling his fingers.
"I would prefer to be in training camp. In training camp, everybody comes together, you find some ... " Beaubois said as he scanned the ceiling for the appropriate word to end his thought.
"Yes, chemistry," Beaubois said. "Even if we have almost the same team, training camp is always good because it's tough for everybody in the beginning. It's good to have. But, it's too bad. I just need to stay focused, watch the practice, listen to what they are going to do and just watch."
What the Mavs do starting Sept. 28 at training camp at SMU could look much different than what Carlisle initially envisioned. If not for the injury, it's quite possible that Beaubois would have entered training camp as the starting shooting guard.
Such a move would enable Carlisle to move Caron Butler to small forward and use versatile Shawn Marion off the bench, a move Marion wouldn't be thrilled about but one that might have been more easily implemented by Carlisle right off the bat. But that's impossible now.
"We have a lot of possibilities," Carlisle said. "Look, we have never had anything written in stone, but we have a lot of different options and we've got a lot of things to look at in training camp, and that's why you have training camp."
Carlisle will have interesting issues to manage and some egos to soothe, whether Beaubois starts or comes off the bench. One question: Who will be the sixth man? Jason Terry knows his contract for the 2011-12 is not fully guaranteed unless he plays 1,500 minutes this season. Terry's playing time could also be affected by how quickly rookie Dominique Jones progresses. He will enter camp as the team's best penetrator, a weapon the Mavs desperately need.
But it's Beaubois who is being counted on to bring a new dimension to an offense that too often became stagnant and ineffective. The Mavs need Beaubois to become a scoring force from the perimeter and a capable penetrator to ease the load on Dirk Nowitzki. Beaubois proved he can be an explosive offensive player last season as the two-guard and mostly playing alongside Jason Kidd. His outburst in Game 6 at San Antonio was the last bit of evidence.
Beaubois' downfall came when Carlisle tested him at the point, the position Beaubois has concentrated on this summer, at the insistence of the club, up until the unfortunate injury. He will be asked to perform at both positions this season, with high hopes that his 56 games played as a wide-eyed rookie can reach 82 -- depending, obviously, on his return date --- and his minutes can stretch from 12.5 a game to 25 or more and his point production can double from 7.1.
"He's more mature than the average 22-year-old. He's a great listener, a great learner, and I think the best way to put it is he has an unusual capacity for a young guy to grasp things," Carlisle said. "He got a lot under his belt last year. We've got to get him through the injury thing and then we'll be right back on track."
For now, the Mavs can only do what Beaubois must do.
"We just need to wait for it to get better," Beaubois said. "With the foot, because of my weight, it is tough to come back quick. It is healing, so it is going to be good soon.
"But, we just need to wait."