Caron Butler hopes to be back for the playoffs

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The Dallas Mavericks have missed Caron Butler.

It’s been hard to tell because they missed Dirk Nowitzki so much for the nine games he was out, then he returns and they miss Tyson Chandler for two games due to the flu — and not so coincidentally their defense turns into, um, organic fertilizer while he is out.

But they will miss Butler, as you will see tonight when the Mavericks take on the Lakers.

Butler told ESPN Dallas his goal is to return from knee surgery for the playoffs.

“I know what muscles to keep fired, what little things to do,” Butler said. “I just need some time. I’ve been through this before when I was 15 years old and it took about 4.5 months to come back from, and I was rolling. I was good. I was healthy. So I just need some time.”

With Butler the Mavericks had put together one of the best records in the West, they were talked about as a potential threat to the Lakers. With Butler they might be able to regain that reputation and see if it was a reality.

Don’t expect the Mavericks to make any moves. The latest reports — again from ESPN Dallas — are they are standing pat with a month to go before the trade deadline. If the team is still slumping in two weeks, that may change. But for now, don’t expect a big move.