Caron Butler not cleared for contact

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Dallas Mavericks small forward Caron Butler has been not been cleared for contact drills despite a team spokesman's earlier confirmation of a TNT report that Butler would begin practicing next week.

Coach Rick Carlisle was surprised when asked about the report after the Mavericks' Game 4 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

"He's been doing noncontact basketball drills, not at full speed," Carlisle said after a brief meeting with the team spokesman. "The report is erroneous."

Butler suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee on Jan. 1, an injury that had to be surgically repaired. The Mavericks originally announced that Butler would be out for the season, but he set a goal to return during the playoffs.

"Getting there," Butler said. "We have to wait and see when we get back, but getting there."

Butler's rehabilitation had progressed to the point where he is able to run straight ahead and jump. He still has problems moving laterally.

Butler, a two-time All-Star, was the Mavericks' third-leading scorer at 15.0 points per game when he was injured. The Mavericks were 24-7 before Butler got injured.

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.