It took one preseason game for the Dallas Mavericks’ new starting center to feel the wrath of coach Rick Carlisle.

Carlisle doesn’t believe Samuel Dalembert is in the shape necessary for him to be a quality starting center and told the big man as much after the Mavs’ 94-92 loss Monday night to the New Orleans Pelicans. Dalembert who signed a two-year $7.6 million deal this summer picked up four fouls and committed four turnovers along with four points and two rebounds in less than 11 minutes of playing time.

“I just told him in front of the whole team that he’s got to keep working” said Carlisle who mentioned Dalembert’s conditioning issues to the media without a question being asked about the center. “We need his minutes. They’re going to be very important to us. He’s a factor. When he’s in shape he’s a factor as a rim protector and rebounder and he gives you a big active athletic body in there.”

Dalembert an 11-year veteran playing for his fifth team in five seasons didn’t agree with his coach’s assessment of his conditioning.

“It’s not that” said Dalembert who was fighting a relatively serious case of the sniffles. “The main thing that happened to me is I got hurt. I got hurt in the first practice of camp. Stupid me my pride takes over and I wanted to practice. I didn’t want to take off so that kind of slowed me down a little bit.”

Dalembert said he bruised his back during Tuesday’s morning practice when he fell to the floor and had a teammate come crashing down on him. He said he missed some of that evening’s practice received treatment including anti-inflammatory medication and is “feeling much better” now.

Dalembert who drifted in and out of the Milwaukee Bucks’ rotation last season attributed his rough preseason debut in Dallas to being “one of those games.”