Dennis Smith Jr. believes he's very close to returning …

Dennis Smith Jr. believes he’s very close to returning to action and that he “for sure” will be in uniform before 2018 is history. “I’m making great progress,” he said after the final pre-Christmas game Sunday in Portland. “I’m getting better with everything and it’s feeling better every day. It’ll be soon, I can tell you that, for sure.”

More on Dennis Smith Injury

"I have no update on Dennis," coach Rick Carlisle said before the two-day Christmas break. "He's doing consistently better and hasn't had setbacks is what I can tell you." Smith has been getting daily therapy on the wrist, but a big part of the recovery is simply hoping Mother Nature takes care of business.
Dwain Price: Rick Carlisle said Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) will not play tonight against the @Orlando Magic , and he also said he's "900,000 percent sure" Maxi Kleber (elbow) will play tonight.
Tim MacMahon: Mavs PG Dennis Smith Jr. is doubtful for Monday’s home game vs. Magic as he continues to deal with a sore right wrist.
Tim Bontemps: Rick Carlisle says Dennis Smith Jr. is out tonight against the Celtics with a right wrist injury. "It's not right yet. He's not going to go." Says Smith hurt his wrist against Memphis. Wes Matthews, though, will play.
Eddie Sefko: Dennis Smith Jr. is out tonight after rolling ankle in Philly. Right players will see action, including Yogi Ferrell in his 82nd of season.
Dwain Price: Dennis Smith Jr. on his impending comeback: "I’m going to finish the season out. Whenever they think that I’m ready to come back, I’ll be back. Like I said, just finish the year out strong. Like I said, we’re just going to rehab and make sure I’m ready whenever I do come back."
The good news, as painful as the sprain may be: the injury is not season-ending. Smith will be able to fully recover without any long-lasting issue. Said coach Rick Carlisle: "X-rays were negative. He won't require crutches. I have no timetable at this time. We probably dodged a bullet. I would think he's doubtful for Tuesday, but that's all I know." Added Junior: "Very relieved. ... I don't want to say I'm going to be ready for the next game, but they're going to make sure I can get back this season, for sure."
Eddie Sefko: Dennis Smith Jr. will play tonight against Rockets after sitting a game for knee soreness.
Mark Followill: Dennis Smith Jr out tonight with left knee soreness. Carlisle anticipates he might play tomorrow vs Houston
Tim MacMahon: Mavs rookie PG Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) is listed as questionable for Monday's game against the Suns. Smith has missed the last five games.
Earl K. Sneed: To be clear, Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) is progressing, per Rick Carlisle. Mavs just don't want to put a timetable on his return until they're sure he's 100 percent.
Earl K. Sneed: Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) says he hopes to return sooner than Rick Carlisle’s two-game prediction: “I don’t know about two (games). I know one is mandatory. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
Eddie Sefko: Rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. did not go through practice on Thursday to rest a sore hip area. Not believed to be anything serious. Status to be updated Friday in advance of Milwaukee game.
Eddie Sefko: Dennis Smith Jr. says his left knee is fine and he'll play tonight at Utah 8 pm tip. Said the "questionable" designation doesn't apply 2nite
Earl K. Sneed: Rick Carlisle says the @Dallas Mavericks are monitoring Dennis Smith Jr.'s left knee closely: "This is a greater workload than he's ever hard."
Earl K. Sneed: Dennis Smith Jr. (left ankle sprain) says he will play for the @Dallas Mavericks tonight in Charlotte. He'll have a lot of family in the crowd.
Storyline: Dennis Smith Injury
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LeBron James lobbying hard to get Kyrie Irving on the Lakers

Brooklyn insists that talks are only preliminary at this point, but Chris Haynes’ report Saturday that the Nets and Lakers have discussed a Kyrie Irving trade only fueled what is already a widespread expectation that Irving is destined to end up with the Lakers. I certainly believe that, too. I know Irving has been in Los Angeles this week, but that’s not the source of my confidence. It stems from repeated rumbles in circulation that LeBron James is rooting hard for Irving’s addition to the roster. James, I’m told, wants to see Irving in Lakerland more than anyone. What other team, furthermore, has a LeBron-sized personality with the experience to cope with all the chaos that comes with adding Kyrie? James, remember, has often thrived in chaos.