Mavs' Wafer available for six games

The Dallas Mavericks signed five-year veteran Von Wafer to a 10-day contract Wednesday.

The Mavericks signed Wafer, who averaged 9.7 points for the Houston Rockets last season, primarily because they need practice players -- they only had nine available for Tuesday's practice. He will be available for Wednesday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

That doesn't mean Wafer won't be able to work his way into the Mavs' future plans. But the Mavs certainly aren't counting on him to crack the rotation this season.

"He can shoot it. We know that, and he's athletic," president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said Monday. "When he's healthy, he can defend. His athleticism is the thing that kind of separates him."

Wafer started this season in Greece, then failed a physical for the Rockets in December because of a bulging disk problem in his back.

The signing was delayed until Wednesday to allow the Mavericks to keep Wafer eligible for as many games as possible. Wafer is eligible to play six games over the next 10 days.

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. Marc Stein of ESPN.com contributed to this story.