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Dennis Smith Jr. will rejoin the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday for a game against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, coach Rick Carlisle announced Sunday.
Smith has missed the last five games — three officially announced for back soreness and two others because of illness according to the team — as rumors swirled about the Mavericks shopping him. Smith will miss Monday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Carlisle informed Smith’s teammates of his pending return at practice Sunday in Milwaukee, news they were reportedly happy to hear.
“I am excited to announce Dennis Smith Jr. will rejoin the team on Tuesday,” Carlisle said in a short statement. “Dennis and I spoke at length today. He is feeling better and plans to resume workouts in preparation for his return. There will be no further updates until Tuesday.”
On Friday, Carlisle admitted “business stuff” was keeping the point guard away from the team, which selected him in the first round of the 2017 draft.
“I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I know one thing — this kid is a team guy, and he loves being with his teammates, and he really respects his teammates,” Carlisle said on his weekly appearance on 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas. “This is just my feeling, is that he’s being told to stay away for whatever reason. I just don’t want people out there to think he is snubbing the Mavs or anything like that. This is just my opinion, I believe there’s business stuff going on, and he’s being told to stay away. Listen, if that’s what they feel in his best interests, he should trust his advisors. But it’s unlike him not to want to be with his teammates.
“I do feel strongly that people should not look at Dennis in this situation now and judge him harshly, that he’s doing something against his teammates or the Mavs or anything like that. I just think this is a business type situation, and this is what he’s being advised to do.”