Howard close to being able to 'really amp it up'

SAN ANTONIO -- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle considers changes to his starting lineup to be top-secret information.

So we won't know until minutes before tip-off whether tonight will be the night that Josh Howard returns to the starting lineup. However, Carlisle did share that Howard's surgically repaired left ankle is progressing to the point where his minutes don't need to be monitored so carefully, which was the primary reason Howard has been in a reserve role.

"We’ve been able to bring him along at a rate that was more reasonable to getting him to a point where we could really amp it up," Carlisle said. "I think we’re getting closer to that point."

In other news, Carlisle confirmed that center Erick Dampier will play after missing the last two games with a left knee effusion.