The Mavericks are ready to be done with the tedious preseason and they’ll bid a thankful farewell to games that don’t matter Friday night at American Airlines Center against Indiana.

The exhibition season is a pain to most players and a bore to some especially for an older team like the Mavericks.

But the eight-game preseason serves a purpose. And if the Mavericks were true to themselves they would admit that even though they’ll be thrilled to start the regular season Wednesday against Atlanta they could use a few more prelims.

Their depth presumed to be a strength when this team was assembled has been a casualty of off-season and preseason injuries. They will open the regular season trying to plug holes at center and point guard.

Center is the primary concern. Without Brandan Wright who will miss an undetermined amount of time at the start of the season with a fractured left shoulder that leaves starter Samuel Dalembert undersized backup DeJuan Blair and second-year man Bernard James.

“We’re going to have to roll with whoever we have available and foul trouble is going to be a challenge” coach Rick Carlisle said Thursday. “But we’re going to have to hold the fort. And we may have to play small at times. I don’t like doing that categorically. But if it becomes a fact of life we’re going to have to just figure it out.”

Keeping Dalembert on the court and out of foul trouble will be a team-wide job. Perimeter players cannot allow a constant stream of penetrators to get into the paint and challenge Dalembert.
That was a problem Wednesday against a short-handed Atlanta team and it no doubt is something other opponents have noticed.