Back's OK: Caron Butler will play

NEW ORLEANS -- Caron Butler is in

After missing the last three games with back spasms Butler will start at small forward as the Dallas Mavericks look to end a nine-game road losing streak against the New Orleans Hornets (including the 2008 playoffs).

Butler, who hasn't played since leaving in the third quarter in a win against the Boston Celtics nine days ago, is averaging 14.7 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. He's struggled to find his shooting range, hitting just 39.1 percent of his shots.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said it will be nice to have the team's third-leading scorer back in the fold.

"Caron's a scorer," Carlisle said. "He's a physical guy that can have a physical presence around the basket with his matchup."

Butler's return will send Shawn Marion back to the bench. In the three games Butler missed, Marion averaged 13.6 points, but he had just five points and five turnovers in Monday's win over the Hornets in Dallas.