MEMPHIS -- The Dallas Mavericks' vaunted depth is being pushed to the limit at a horrible time.
"It obviously sucks right now," said Dirk Nowitzki, the latest to be sidelined after a freak tweak of his lower back during warmups took him out early in the second quarter of Wednesday's 96-85 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. "We're already down without L.O., without D-West and we're in a tough stretch and we need every win."
Without Nowitzki for all but 10 minutes Wednesday night against the surging Grizzlies, Delonte West back in Dallas with his right hand incapacitated and Lamar Odom still on indefinite personal leave, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle mixed and matched and hoped for a miracle that didn't come.
Lamar Odom has been away from the Mavericks for over a week dealing with a family matter.
It was a night that Carlisle and the Mavs could have used the 6-foot-10 Odom, whose excused absence from the team has stretched a full week. Within the locker room, it is becoming clear that Odom is not expected to join the team in New Orleans for Friday's game against the Hornets.
Carlisle said he hopes to have an update on Odom's situation Thursday.
A source close to the situation said there is a growing feeling in the locker room that Odom might not return at all.
Prior to Tuesday's home loss to the New Jersey Nets, Mavs owner Mark Cuban said he does expect Odom to rejoin the club at some point. Cuban also reiterated that he is not interested in negotiating a buyout.
As long as Cuban continues to back him, Odom, who left the team last Wednesday to tend to his father, who was ill, will reap the benefit of the doubt. Cuban on Tuesday said Odom "has to clear things out and that's what we're trying to help him do."