Mavericks' Caron Butler back in lineup

NEW ORLEANS -- Dallas Mavericks small forward Caron Butler was in the starting lineup Wednesday night against the New Orleans Hornets after missing the past three games with back spasms.

Butler hadn't played since leaving in the third quarter in a win against the Boston Celtics nine days ago. Butler had just five points on 2-of-7 shooting to go with two assists in 22 minutes in Dallas' 99-97 loss to the Hornets.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said before the game that 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 sent Shawn Marion back to the bench. Marion had eight points and four rebounds in 26 minutes Wednesday. 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.

Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.