Mavs hope Marion groin strain not serious

Mavericks forward Shawn Marion strained his right groin during Wednesday’s win over the Houston Rockets.

“Hopefully, not serious,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters Thursday. “But if something happens and he can’t go tomorrow, everybody’s going to jump up one spot on the food chain. And the next guy is going to have to be ready at every position. Hopefully that’s not the case. But if it does, that’s where we are.

“One player out of the rotation can completely change how a team looks and functions, and we have to be ready for those situations.”

The 35-year-old Marion, the Mavs’ best defender, is averaging 12.7 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game this season. He starts at small forward and often slides to power forward when Dirk Nowitzki rests.

If Marion is unable to play, Vince Carter or Jae Crowder would start in his place. The Mavs are careful to keep the 36-year-old Carter’s minutes in the mid-20s, so Crowder’s role could expand significantly, particularly since he has played some power forward as well. Marion’s potential absence could also lead to Wayne Ellington getting his first playing time since Nov. 8.

Marion not only finished Wednesday’s game, but he scored five points and grabbed a rebound in the final 80 seconds as the Mavs completed their comeback. His 3-pointer with 47.7 seconds remaining gave the Mavs the lead for good.