Caron Butler 'unlikely' for first round

DALLAS -- Caron Butler, who ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee a little more than three months ago, is "extremely unlikely" to play for the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, coach Rick Carlisle said Wednesday.

Butler, who was averaging 15.0 points and 4.1 rebounds before he got hurt vs. Milwaukee on Jan. 1 and had surgery, will continue his aggressive rehabilitation work in an effort to be able to contribute during the postseason.

The Mavs continue to be cautious about that possibility.

"I can't give you a medical opinion," Carlisle said. "My coaching opinion is, his jump shot looks great. He's doing great and he's way ahead of schedule. But timetable-wise, I don't have one. He's been able to step up his activity moderately, but he's not running yet or anything like that.

"It's extremely unlikely we'll see him in the first round."

Butler has tried to accelerate the healing process with multiple sessions inside a hyperbaric chamber. He's also been doing strength-building exercises and cardio workouts, such as riding a stationary bike and strolling on an underwater treadmill.

"I keep goals," Butler said Wednesday. "But no update."

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. Jeff Caplan contributed to this report.