Felton can't start ban until healthy

DALLAS -- Mavericks guard Raymond Felton will miss more than just the first four games of the season.

NBA rules prevent Felton from serving his four-game suspension, which stems from his guilty plea on New York gun charges from last season, until he is healthy enough to play.

Felton is recovering from a high right ankle sprain suffered in an Oct. 10 preseason game when he landed awkwardly on the foot of Oklahoma City Thunder swingman Anthony Morrow after driving to the basket. Felton has not done any significant basketball activities since suffering the injury.

"He's walking, but he's quite a ways away," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're going to make sure he's right. He's made big-time progress, but we're not close to him being declared healthy yet. It's going to be at least a week, probably longer."

The Mavs plan for Felton, a nine-year veteran acquired along with center Tyson Chandler in a June trade with the New York Knicks, to be a key part of the Dallas bench. He's expected to get minutes behind starting guards Jameer Nelson and Monta Ellis, although Devin Harris will be the first guard off the Mavs' bench.