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Doctor is In: How Casey Smith Can Maximize Mavs’ Christian Wood

The Mavs got their center upgrade, now they need to keep him healthy.

The importance of finding the right players for a team's roster can not be overstated. You search and search as a team executive to try and piece players together to ultimately reach the playoffs. Team chemistry is a vital piece of what causes those teams to mold together. 

Another vital piece to any team is their medical staff. You would be hard pressed to find an athletic trainer with more notoriety than Casey Smith. Smith, the Director of Player Health and Performance for the Dallas Mavericks, is known league-wide as one of, if not, the best trainer in the NBA. He even served on staff for the United States Men's National team, including the gold-medal team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. 

Smith has played a vital role over the years in ensuring that his team is trained and healthy enough to compete at the highest level. His dedicated staff works with the players on their physical training, as well as their nutrition in hopes of keeping them on the court as much as possible. How could this factor into the recent acquisition of Christian Wood?

One of the knocks against Wood is that he’s had some trouble staying on the floor at times. He has missed 66 games over the last three seasons with various knees and ankle injuries — albeit mostly minor ones — including an ankle injury that sidelined him for 17 games in 2021.

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In 2010, the Mavericks went and acquired another athletic big man who had an injury history as well in Tyson Chandler. In the two years prior to Chandler landing on the Mavericks, he played some of the fewest game totals on a season in his career at 45 and 51 games. The year he was traded to Dallas, he played 74 games.

Let’s also take a look back at the trade Dallas made for Spencer Dinwiddie this year. Dinwiddie has had knee issues throughout his career, both collegiate and professional. Despite that, he proved to be a vital piece of the Mavericks being able to reach the Western Conference Finals this year. Smith kept Dinwiddie from playing in back-to-back games in the regular season to lessen his chances for re-injury.

Wood might have some minor question marks, but Mavericks fans should rest their hope in this: Casey Smith has proven himself time and time again. There is no reason to believe he will not do it again. Dallas, the doctor is in.