It didn't take long for guard Delonte West to make an impression on Rick Carlisle.

"It was earlier in the year,'' the Dallas Mavericks coach said. "I felt even in the abbreviated training camp that he was going to be an important rotation player.

"And then when (Jason) Kidd missed games early in the year and he stepped in and started and we were able to win a lot of those games, that solidified things really for everybody.''

But West fractured his right ring finger on Feb. 15 against the Denver Nuggets, and it cost him 21 games. The Mavs were a subpar 10-11 in the absence of West, who has been impressive in the two games since Mavs' doctors felt he was ready to play again.