Slow start hasn't hurt Mavs' Gooden
DALLAS -- The only reason Rick Carlisle is disappointed with Drew Gooden is because the center/forward probably won't be available again Tuesday night.
Gooden injured his rib cage Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers and sat out Saturday against the Clippers. He didn't practice Monday and is considered doubtful for Tuesday's game against the Utah Jazz.
Gooden has made only one of 10 shots from the floor and averaged 3.0 rebounds during his first two games with the Dallas Mavericks.
Carlisle, however, likes what he's seen from Gooden, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract this summer.
"How somebody is playing can't be solely judged by what they're doing with shot-making, points, rebounds," Carlisle said. "How are they fitting into the system? Do they understand their defensive assignments? Do they understand the team philosophy? He's great with all that other stuff. His game is good. I was disappointed that the injury came when it did, because I did think he was playing good basketball even though the ball wasn't going in particularly well."
With Gooden and Tim Thomas, the Mavericks added two versatile big men with scoring capability. It could be a while before either make an impact, though.
Thomas practiced Monday for the first time since undergoing knee surgery before training camp, but there's still no timetable for his Mavericks debut.
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail email@example.com.