DALLAS (AP) Derek Fisher shed a little blood in his first practice as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
Maybe it's a sign of commitment.
The veteran point guard who signed with Dallas as a free agent this week took blow to the face Friday.
``It was an exciting first day. There was a little bit of a minor setback when I took a nice elbow to the nose, I had some nice leakage, so right back into the mix on the first day,'' laughed Fisher, who at 38 has not played since he helped Oklahoma City sweep the Mavericks in the first round of last spring's playoffs before falling in the NBA Finals to Miami.
``He had a little spark of blood out there, so I said, `Welcome to full contact again,''' joked Dallas forward Shawn Marion. ``But he's a solid point guard, he knows how to control the tempo of the game, he takes what the defense gives him and he's poised out there. And that's what you expect.''
Proving to be a good teammate already, Fisher would not disclose who elbowed him. He seemed happy just to be on the court with his new squad.
``I've been working hard, just keeping myself ready for this moment, not really knowing where it would be,'' Fisher said.. ``Just to be back out here with a group of guys with everybody working hard is good.''
The Mavericks are 3-8 in their last 11 games and could use leadership from the 16-year veteran. Dallas will be without star Dirk Nowitski for another several weeks and starting point guard Darren Collison is questionable for Saturday night's home game against Detroit.
``For a guy that's been sitting out, he's obviously been working hard and taking care of himself,'' said coach Rick Carlisle. ``It'll take a little while to get game legs, but he did a great job today and he's going to help us. He's going to be involved, he's probably going to be our starting point guard. We're not looking at him as a cure-all for anything, but we feel he can help us. He strengthens our team and experience is something that is invaluable in this league.''
Fisher's experience includes 229 playoff games, eight trips to the NBA Finals and five championships with the Lakers (2000-02, 2009-10). Still, it was difficult waiting to find out his next destination.
``I was always planning to play again this season. I've been training hard, preparing myself for this moment,'' said Fisher, who has also played for Golden State and Utah. ``Nothing prepares you for playing in a game, so there will be some moments where I'll have to push through, but overall, I feel great. It was very tough on certain days to be patient and really wait for that right opportunity, but there were a lot of days where having extra time with my family and my kids, I enjoyed that as well.''
Carlisle feels his presence will only help Collison, who missed Wednesday's 23-point loss in Chicago with a sprained right middle finger.
``We got a great situation with him and Collison, because we got two great players,'' Carlisle said. ``Darren's still one of our best players and I've made that clear to him. I see him as a guy that's still developing and I can't imagine a better situation for a young point guard than being at practice every day with Derek Fisher. This is going to be a great situation for him and it's going to help our team.''