Shane Larkin tries to remain patient during ankle rehab

DALLAS — Less than five months after he was drafted, Orlandoan Shane Larkin already faces one of the toughest challenges for a professional athlete: remaining patient after a significant injury.

Larkin, a point guard who attended Dr. Phillips High and the University of Miami, fractured his right ankle during a practice in July, just hours before the Dallas Mavericks' NBA Summer League team left for Las Vegas.

Larkin needed surgery to have two screws inserted into his ankle, and he's sat out the Mavericks' preseason games, including Monday night's matchup against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Center.

"Yeah, it's frustrating," Larkin said. "But, at the same time, it's a learning experience. If you're going to play basketball, you're going to have an injury. It's much better that it happened when it did because I won't miss too much of the season. If it would've happened in-season, I would've missed probably the rest of it. I've just got to work twice as hard as I did to get here.

"It's not a good thing, but at the same time, you've got to get positives out of it."

Larkin played two seasons at Miami, and in May he posted some of the top physical-testing scores at the 2013 NBA Combine in Chicago. The Atlanta Hawks selected him 18th overall and then sent him to the Mavs in a draft-night trade.

Larkin overcame an injury before. He said he fractured the same ankle, in a different place, as a high school freshman. But he also said his ankle became stronger after he rehabilitated it.

Larkin, 21, hasn't been able to practice since July.

He said Mavericks coaches constantly ask him questions to test him on what he sees during practices. With all that quizzing, the team hopes to reduce his learning curve for when he's finally healthy.

"I know all the plays," Larkin said. "I know all the defensive coverages that we're going to be using. I'm mentally there. When I get on the court, when I have to react and still know the plays, that's when it's really going to be telling."

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