Monday Mavs Donuts: Injuries & The NBA Draft

Warning: These Donuts are for serious Mavs fans only, for serious NBA draftniks only, and for basketball followers who understand that a grossly underexposed element of this week's NBA Draft is the injury history of the prospects. We want you to know what Mavs trainer Casey Smith knows. Dig in to Monday Morning Mavs Donuts!

DONUT 1: The research begins ...

The start of an interesting offseason for the Dallas Mavericks begins with the upcoming NBA Draft. Whether the Mavericks will utilize their first lottery pick in years remains a mystery but does know they have brought in and scouted multiple potential picks. (Fish has our "semi-complete list of Mavs HQ visitors here. Also, for more information on many of these players, visit the Archives here.)

We also know that Dirk himself survived a "scare'' this weekend playing in his German charity soccer game:

Oh, and as Fish reports, we know the Doc Rivers-to-Clippers deal delivers a crushing blow to Paul-to-Dallas thoughts.

DONUT 2: Knowing what Casey Smith knows ...

But in another part of of the building inside Mavs HQ ...

Basketball minds will analyze each player's measureable and immeasurable attributes but it's up to the highly-regarded medical staff of the Mavericks to weigh in on any potential medical red flags in each individual's background. Free agency is coming but Thursday's draft comes first. As the injury expert for, let me provide you with some insight to what award-winning Mavs trainer Casey Smith and company are examining.

DONUT 3: International injuries ...

Three international players have been linked to Dallas including Dario Saric of Croatia and Frenchmen Dennis Schroeder and Rudy Gobert. Saric had minimal injury risk but did miss time at the U19 World Championship in Latvia with a minor back issue. Unfortunately for Dallas, Saric withdrew his name from the draft and will need to stay injury-free for another year to keep his risk at the same level.

Finding medical information on foreign-born players can be difficult but our research didn't find anything in Schroeder's past that would suggest he comes with elevated risk. On the other hand, Gobert sustained at least three ankle sprains last season with Cholet Basket of the LNB Pro A. It would elevate his risk slightly given his 7-2 frame.

DONUT 4: Follow the Mavs on Twitter ...

Follow the Mavs on Twitter: Mike Fisher, David Lord and certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts keep you up-to-the-minute informed on all things Mavs!

DONUT 5: Making the point ...

Point guard is one of the key positions Dallas has publicly stated they must improve on during the offseason. True to form the team has been linked to the top two point guards on most draft boards, Michigan's Trey Burke and Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams.

Burke will likely be unavailable at 13 in part to his clean bill of health. He suffered minor elbow and tailbone contusions last season but did not miss any games. He's an explosive player and a safe pick for whatever team selects him.

Carter-Williams is more likely to end up in Dallas but isn't injury-free. He missed 10 games with an undisclosed leg injury during his junior season of high school. However it wasn't an issue in his two years at Syracuse as he failed to miss a game due to injury. Like Burke, he's a low-risk pick with plenty of upside.

University of Miami point guard Shane Larkin comes from a sports pedigree, the son of baseball Hall-of-Famer Barry Larkin, and is reporting he worked out for Dallas. He has several minor injuries to note including a hand injury in high school and a stomach illness during this year's Sweet 16. Furthermore there is also a red flag in his past.

Larkin transferred from DePaul to Miami citing an undisclosed medical condition. The issue was likely addressed during team interviews but the reason has never been made public.
DONUT 6: Get younger at the swingman spot? ...

Dallas has veterans Shawn Marion and Vince Carter at the 2 and 3. (Maybe not for long, though; Fish and D-Lord have the incredibly detailed breakdown of Marion trade talks and ETO talks here, exclusively on Dallas could opt to get younger through the draft. Two names that could potentially help would be Providence's Ricky Ledo and Jamaal Franklin from San Diego State.

Ledo never played for the Friars after being ruled academically ineligible, meaning conditioning could be an issue after missing so much time. Ledo's injury risk is low but there are still questions to be asked.

Franklin has one of the more impressive injuries of the draft. In the summer of 2011, he knocked out a tooth on the rim of the goal during a dunk attempt. He missed a game as a sophomore with a left ankle sprain and a back injury cost him a game this past season. He recently re-sprained the ankle and was placed in a walking book, sidelining him for the combine. However all these injuries are fairly common and do little to elevate his overall health risk. is reporting visits having been scheduled with both of them.

DONUT 7: Deep examination ...

The aforementioned guys are first-round prospects. But Dallas has also taken a look at Southern Mississippi forward Dwayne Davis -- so we will, too.

The 6-5 senior played just one true year at the NCAA level but remained injury-free. However questions regarding his conditioning and weight forced him to leave Morehead State before he could ever take the court. He then went the JUCO route and managed to stay out of the athletic training room. If his weight issues are behind him then his inherent injury risk should be minimal, though he's most likely a second-round option.

DONUT 8: Go big or ...

Centers like Nerlens Noel and Alex Len sit atop most mock drafts despite significant injury risk with each player. Unlikely to make a move for either of those two bigs, the Mavs have elected to bring in more realistic targets for workouts in University of Pittsburgh freshmen Steven Adams and Duke senior Mason Plumlee.

Adams suffered a left ankle sprain that cost him a game in his one season at Pitt and remains a low-risk guy. Plumlee missed six games his freshmen year at Duke with a broken left wrist and played his senior season with a torn ligament in his left thumb. While both of Plumlee's injury occurred to his left hand it's not likely they are connected and shouldn't be an issue moving forward.

DONUT 9: A hidden concern ...
The Mavs are linked to one other big, 6-10 Kenny Kadji from the University of Miami. Kadji suffered minor head and shoulder injuries while playing for Miami but I'm more concerned with an injury he sustained while enrolled at Florida -- and this is why he deserves his own Donut.

Kadji underwent a microdiscectomy on a bulging disk in his back during the 2009-2010 season. While his short-term outlook has been good, back injuries can eventually become chronic -- thus elevating his level of risk.

DONUT 10: Party time! ...

A tip of the cap of appreciation to Frisco Party Station, your neighborhood headquarters for all your graduation party needs! All the neighborhood schools represented -- college and even high school! -- and the party is on!

DONUT 11: About that 13 ...

A Mavs trade preview -- even one focused on the injury histories of prospects -- wouldn't be complete without a mention of the possibility of Dallas moving the pick. As a reader, I say here is your must-see on the subject.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...

It's yet to be determined how the Dallas front office will utilize their picks in Thursday's draft. But we have hopes they've been sure to do their homework -- not just on the value of the player, or even the value of trading the pick, but also weighing the injury risk of each individual.

And now you've done some of your own research in that department as well! ... Stay glued to Fish and all week for updates as -- or heck, even before -- they happen!

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