DALLAS (AP) J.J. Barea, the key component in Dallas' push for the playoffs, strained his right groin and won't return to a game against Memphis.
Barea was injured midway through the first quarter Friday night when he was fouled on a drive by Jordan Farmar. He's the team's leading scorer during a five-game winning streak that pushed the Mavericks to seventh place in the Western Conference.
The diminutive sparkplug returned in the second quarter, but was slowed significantly and left for good about 3 minutes after coming back in.
Barea is starting because Deron Williams has missed eight straight games with a left abdominal strain. Raymond Felton is the most experienced point guard with the Mavericks in a race with Utah and Houston for the final two playoff spots in the West.
This story has been corrected to say Deron Williams has a left abdominal strain, not right.