While the Indiana Pacers are preparing for the return of one offensive spark, they now have to be concerned with the health of another.
Indiana (6-7) announced this week that Mike Dunleavy, who was limited to 18 games in 2008-09 because of a knee injury, is nearly ready to make his season debut. Dunleavy averaged a career-high 19.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in 2007-08, and the Pacers are hopeful his return could provide an outside shooting threat for a team that is ranked in the bottom 10 of the league in 3-point percentage at 32.1.
Dunleavy's eventual return looms especially critical after Granger sat out Wednesday's 86-73 win over the Los Angeles Clippers with a sprained ligament in his left knee. Indiana's leading scorer at 25.2 points per game has already been declared out for Friday by the Pacers' official Web site.
"I anticipate (Dunleavy) should not be out much longer," coach Jim O'Brien said, "and I would say based on what Danny's situation is, I would suspect he needs to get back on the court."
O'Brien's team managed to play well enough without both players Wednesday to snap a four-game losing streak, although Indiana shot just 37.6 percent, was held to 12 points in the first quarter and didn't lead until late in the third.
Troy Murphy, who missed six games earlier this month with a bruised lower back, scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.
"I'm not a real big rah-rah type guy," said Murphy, who also grabbed 11 rebounds. "I just let my play do the talking. That's the way I've always been."
While Murphy and the Pacers were able to beat a 6-10 Clippers team, keeping up with Dallas (11-4), which is coming off its highest-scoring game of the season, might be more difficult.
The Mavericks (11-4) are looking for their seventh win in eight games after recording a 130-99 victory over Houston on Wednesday, one night after they had their five-game winning streak snapped by Golden State.
Dallas shot 65.5 percent and helped itself by scoring 26 unanswered points in the first quarter. Jason Terry scored 27 points while Shawn Marion returned to the lineup after missing three games due to a sprained left ankle and finished with 12 points in 31 minutes.
"We rotated for each other, took care of the defensive glass," said Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 25 points and shot 10 for 16. "That turned the game around for us."
"Some records are meant to stay where they are," Kidd said. "I don't see anybody breaking that any time soon."
The win was the Mavericks' fourth straight on the road, improving them to 6-2 away from home this season. They haven't won five consecutive road games since a six-game run March 18-27, 2007.
Dallas has won seven of the last eight meetings with the Pacers, including a 94-92 victory at Conseco Fieldhouse last season. Nowitzki has averaged 29.8 points in his last five visits to Indiana.