When Elton Brand joined the Dallas Mavericks this past summer, his eyes lit up because he knew he was joining a team that already had Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman on board.

Brand thought he would be backing up Nowitzki at power forward and Kaman at center. But Brand suddenly figures to play a much more prominent role. Nowitzki had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Oct. 19 and was to be sidelined for six weeks, and Kaman is still out with a strained right calf.

The absence of Nowitzki and Kaman has put more pressure on Brand, who should receive more playing time than he thought when he joined the Mavs.

"I came here to play with Dirk and I'm thinking and I'm salivating over the matchups, because they're going to have to guard him and I can get some easy buckets," Brand said. "And then Kaman, the big center, they're going to have to guard him.

"I'm looking that the power forwards are going to have to guard me because sometimes they put 7-footers on me. Now it's like back to the drawing board."