Kaman Hurts Back In First Mavs Practice

Chris Kaman has missed an average of 30.4 games per season over his last five NBA seasons. So when the new Mavs center exited Saturday morning's very first training camp workout with what the club is terming a 'sprained back' ... well, it merits some concern. A report from inside the AAC:

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle offered glowing reports on the physical condition of Dirk, Marion and Brand. Meanwhile, three of the younger guys, Roddy B, DoJo and rookie Jared Cunningham, remained on the floor long after it was required. The Mavericks feel good about the work accomplished on 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't not considered serious. So we'll see how he's doing tonight and tomorrow and go from there."

Elton 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 Collison and 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 7.7 rebounds last year with the Hornets, and has career averages of 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds.

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