Mavs' Harris close, but not quite ready for return

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm •  Published: January 14, 2014

DALLAS (AP) — Devin Harris ducked out of his first practice in more than a month without talking to reporters.

The veteran guard probably didn't want to say anything to jinx his long-awaited return to the Dallas Mavericks.

Harris has already had one setback after returning to workouts following offseason toe surgery that delayed his reunion with the franchise that acquired the former top-10 pick on draft night a decade ago.

"He brings a lot, but we've got to make sure he's right before we put him out there," coach Rick Carlisle said.

The 10th-year player injured the second toe on his left foot in his only season with Atlanta — Harris' third stop since the Mavericks traded him to get Jason Kidd six years ago.

Harris agreed to a three-year, $9 million contract with his original team in the offseason, but the severity of the toe injury scuttled that deal. He ended up signing for one year at $1.3 million.

A few days after he returned to practice in early December, he had inflammation in another toe, which he said was actually good news. His return to practice Tuesday came exactly six weeks after his first full workout.

"I'm encouraged," Carlisle said. "It's been a process where we've had to do a pushback and kind of restart it. We're getting closer and closer, but it won't happen this week."

Harris won't play on a two-game road trip to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday and Phoenix on Friday. He's expected to talk to reporters before Saturday's home game against Portland — the start of the second half of the season.