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Royce Young: Wes Matthews is back and starting for Dallas tonight. Dirk Nowitzki is out (return from injury management).
Dirk Nowitzki is finally ready to begin his record-breaking 21st season with the Mavericks, sources told ESPN. The sources said Nowitzki plans to make his season debut in Thursday’s road game against the Phoenix Suns, after a longer-than-anticipated recovery from spring surgery on his left ankle.
Tim MacMahon: Dirk Nowitzki is inactive tonight against the Hawks.
Tim MacMahon: Salah Mejri, who matches up with Dirk in post-practice 3-on-3 games, says the big German’s jumper looked especially good Sunday afternoon.
Tim MacMahon: Dirk Nowitzki says he still isn’t quite ready to make his season debut. “We don’t really have a set date in mind, but we’ll keep on pushing.” He has made significant recent progress.
Tim MacMahon: Dirk Nowitzki will talk to the media after practice tomorrow, an indication his season debut could come as soon as Monday night at home against the Magic.
Dwain Price: Dirk went through practice today. Update coming. @Dallas Mavericks
Dwain Price: Carlisle said Dirk is not playing tomorrow against Houston. @Dallas Mavericks
Certifiable proof that Dirk Nowitzki is on the verge of making his season debut arrived Monday. Holger Geschwindner was at practice. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will get a Nowitzki sighting in uniform Tuesday against Portland in the opener of a challenging back-to-back set of games that ends in New Orleans Wednesday. But it can be taken as a good sign that Nowitzki, who had left ankle surgery in April and has been recovering since, is nudging ever-closer to starting his 21st season. Never mind that Nowitzki’s longtime mentor usually comes to Dallas from Germany four times a season and sometime around the holidays is pretty typical. His presence is always a good thing for Nowitzki.
Tim MacMahon: Rick Carlisle on Dirk’s progress: “He’s killing the interns. He’s lighting ‘em up.” Still no set date for Dirk’s season debut.
Nowitzki pulls up in his SUV, having driven over instead. “No extra steps!” he shouts on his way in, having saved himself a walk of maybe 50 feet from door to door. Challenge his methods if you will, but there’s only so much one can say to a man who has played in 92% of his team’s games over 20 years. You don’t make it to 50,573 career minutes–third-most in NBA history–without good fortune and proactivity. Time, however, comes for even the most mindful athletes. “Ankle surgery was something we all felt was necessary after last year, where I couldn’t really move much,” Nowitzki says. “So it was either retiring or trying the surgery. We tried for the surgery.”
Nowitzki’s initial recovery was promising, and even allowed for him to play in pick-up games when the Mavs reconvened in September. Soon after, the tendons surrounding his surgically repaired ankle had inflamed to the point that Dallas all but shut Nowitzki down. “I guess this is normal,” he says. It’s a miracle that this process–of injury, surgery, and recovery–is still somewhat foreign to Nowitzki, two decades in. Dirk has seen everything there is to see in this sport, but until his last few seasons, he hadn’t seen all that much of it from the sidelines. “I hate being out,” Nowitzki says. “I’ve gotta say. I don’t love it. I’m not the coach guy that pulls guys over left and right and tells ’em something. It’s not really my personality.”
As for when the 7-foot German’s record 21st season with the same franchise will begin after a longer-than-expected recovery from ankle surgery seven months ago, Nowitzki said the goal is sometime in December. The 13-time All-Star had surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle just before the end of the 2017-18 season. Nowitzki was on schedule to be ready for the start of this season before a setback led to tendon soreness just before the start of training camp in September.
Dwain Price: Dirk on his injury status: “I feel good now. I’ve been doing more and more the last couple of days and it’s been tolerating it pretty good. We’re going to keep raising it up and maybe get some practice action here soon and go from there.” @Dallas Mavericks
Dwain Price: This past Wednesday in LA Dirk said it will be “weeks” before he’ll be able to play in a game. Today, Carlisle said he would be thrilled if Dirk will be able to play in a game this month.
Dwain Price: Carlisle said Dirk will be out at least through the rest of this month with that ankle injury. @Dallas Mavericks
Dwain Price: Carlisle on his team: “I like the group, I like the roster. The fact that we don’t have Dirk (Nowitzki) and (Harrison) Barnes is a big challenge tonight (against Phoenix). We’re going to play our brand of basketball and we’re going to have a chance to win some games.”@Dallas Mavericks
Dwain Price: DeAndre Jordan on not having Dirk and Barnes on opening day: “Those two guys are the cornerstones of our team. Dirk’s been here for 40 years. Harrison is a helluva offensive player who we run a lot of things for, and he’s a defender for our team, a rebounder for our team.” #Mavs
Eddie Sefko: Dirk Nowitzki is weeks away from playing, Rick Carlisle says. More to come.
Eddie Sefko: Dirk Nowitzki: “I’ve been called the $5-million mascot already.” He confirmed he’ll miss the opener. No surprise there.
Alex Kennedy: Dirk: “I’ve had some foot problems. I had surgery in April and it healed okay. I was working out in Aug. and I think I did too much. I had a little setback. Right now it’s not great. I haven’t practiced w/ the team. I’m [limited] to light shooting, cardio work & lifting weights.”
Dirk Nowitzki’s availability for the Dallas Mavericks’ season opener is in significant doubt as he continues to slowly recover from April surgery on his left ankle. The 40-year-old face of the franchise has yet to practice with the Mavericks this preseason and will not do so during the team’s weeklong China trip.
“This is weeks, not days, as far as getting on the court for live action,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “He is making gradual progress, but we’re not just at a point where we can talk about a hard timeline or anything like that.”
“It’s a matter of going full bore and then feeling good afterwards,” Carlisle said. “I would have to think that once we got him feeling significantly better, there wouldn’t have to be a lot of full, live workouts to get him into games. But we’re down the road a little more age-wise, so things aren’t necessarily what they were last year, the year before or whatever. “He’s making gradual progress. We need to have him make some real significant progress, get him on the court and then we can talk about it.”
Tim MacMahon: Rick Carlisle on Dirk: “He doesn’t want a farewell tour. I don’t blame him. Those are for some guys, other guys not.”
Eddie Sefko: Dirk Nowitzki said he had “a minor setback” with some sore tendons after playing pickup games but expects no problems by the time the season arrives.
Jeff Stotts: Dirk Nowitzki tells @Chuck Cooperstein and @Mark Followill his ankle remains a work in progress. He has not played over the last 10 days after “scaling back” his recovery.
Nowitzki only recently stepped on the basketball court for a scrimmage with his teammates. His repaired left foot came out of those five-on-five games with lukewarm results. “The ankle where I had the surgery is actually great,” he said. “There were two bone spurs that kind of blocked me from doing things. So they took those out and now there’s a lot more movement in the ankle. But all the tendons aren’t used to moving that much now. Every now and then, it’s a little stiff. I scrimmaged a little last week and on Monday and it hasn’t really reacted amazing to it. But we’re positive that it’ll be fine. By the time we get into camp and especially the regular season, I’ll be 100 percent.”
Nowitzki has gone through a long, slow rehabilitation since the April 5 procedure. Coach Rick Carlisle said the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history should be available for training camp, which opens Sept. 21.
Dwain Price: Dirk on rehabbing his surgically repaired left ankle: “I haven’t even been home to Germany, because I don’t want to miss too much of rehab. But we did take the kids to the beach for a bit. Other than that I’ve been mostly here and working out and enjoying the weather.” @Dirk Nowitzki
Nowitzki said Friday that doctors had to probe into his left ankle because of some swelling that popped up recently. It’s not a major setback. But it was a reminder that, with his 40th birthday approaching later this month, the healing process isn’t as fast as it once was. And complications sometimes happen after procedures like the one he had.
“I saw the doc (Friday) morning,” Nowitzki said. “Everything is on schedule. This week was a little bit of a downer. There was a little more swelling again, so we took it a little easier. The doc said it’s completely normal. “There will be days when it’s great but there obviously was an invasion in there and they had to go in and drill a little bit. He said there will be good days and bad days. So if it reacts a little more, do a little less. But the good thing is I don’t have to get ready for a season right now. By the first of August, I’ll be running and doing everything so I can be ready by September. I have plenty of time to get it right. We don’t have to force anything.”
There is no timetable for Nowitzki’s return, although he fully expects to be healthy and in training camp when it starts in September. However, Nowitzki sounded like an impatient kid on Christmas morning who knows he has to exercise some patience. “It could take really all summer,” Nowitzki said, when asked about the length of his rehab. “I’m obviously not pushing it now. There’s no reason to push it now. We have plenty of time until training camp, which is early in September. We just don’t want to make it worst at this point, so I’m taking it nice and slow.”
Nowitzki explained that he wasn’t in any significant amount of pain while playing this season. Yet he knows his mobility was limited. “(The injured ankle) was blocking me from doing certain movements, especially the side-to-side stuff,” Nowitzki said. “Front-to-back, it was OK. Pushing off, that was just a problem there really all season. “I will never run like I’m 20 again, but I’m hoping that the side-to-side stuff will get easier.”
“It’s been over two weeks now (since the surgery) and I’m moving around without (the walking boot) already pretty good at home,” Nowitzki said. “But once you step out (of the house), I’ll still wear the boot. “It’s progressing good, but it’ll be awhile until I can run and do basketball activities. I already started rehabbing a little bit and riding the bike and lifting a little bit and doing some movement stuff. It’s going to be, unfortunately, a piece of work all summer, but hopefully it’s going to help me next season.”
“The foot is not great,’ Nowitzki said. “That’s obvious after 20 years in the league. I think I got arthritis in every joint I have in my body, which is normally I guess after 20 years. “But they corrected that one area that it was just blocking me and bothering me all season long, and hopefully it’ll be a lot better next season.”
Dwain Price: Dirk: “The foot is not great. That’s obvious after 20 years in the league. I think I’ve got arthritis in every joint I have in my body, which is normally I guess after 20 years. But they corrected that one area that it was just blocking me and bothering me all season long.”
Eddie Sefko: Dirk Nowitzki signed autographs for an hour at Festival de los Mavs and said he’s prepared for a long summer of rehab on his surgically repaired ankle. But also excited about his 21st season. More to come.
Eddie Sefko: Dirk Nowitzki said he’s progressing on schedule from his ankle surgery and is doing some walking without the boot on his foot, although he’s supposed to wear it for another couple weeks when he leaves the house.
Nowitzki, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, did not rule out extending his career beyond next season. “I’m hoping the ankle will be tons better than this year, and then I’m hoping I can play some decent basketball next year, and we’ll kind of go from there,” Nowitzki said. “I always kind of leave the end open. It’s just hard for me at this point to commit further than one year or say one year is it. I kind of want to see how it goes.”
Tim MacMahon: Dirk Nowitzki on next season: “I’m planning on coming back.” He said that’s why he got the ankle surgery now.
Dwain Price: Dirk: “I’m hoping the ankle will be tons better next year. I just kind of want to see how it goes.”
Dwain Price: Barnes on Dirk: “We kind of knew he was going 2 get surgery so it wasn’t necessarily surprising. But obviously u want him 2 recover well. 20 years of wear and tear has its effect so hopefully surgery will give him some relief in his ankle and he’ll feel better coming in Year 21.”
Dwain Price: Carlisle on Dirk’s ankle surgery. “This was pre-planned. At least a little long ago. Not that long ago. We didn’t view it as serious. It’s just something to help this whole thing and him feeling better for next year.”
Mark Followill: Mavs announce Dirk had left ankle surgery today. His 20th season ends with 77 games played and averages of 12 pts & nearly 6 rebs. Coming back for a 21st season, albeit not officially announced, remains probable
Tim MacMahon: Mavs announced Dirk’s procedure as a surgical debridement of his left ankle. “We expect a full and rapid recovery,” a team source says. Dirk’s plan to return for a 21st season remain in place.
Mark Followill: Asked whether Dirk will join the Mavs for the remainder of the road trip, Rick Carlisle said “We’ll have more information for you tomorrow”
Eddie Sefko: Rick Carlisle says he’s not authorized to say more about Dirk, but said more will be known Thursday.
Eddie Sefko: Dirk Nowitzki (left ankle) and Dwight Powell (left knee) will play tonight against Cavaliers.
Dwain Price: Dirk is listed as questionable for tonight’s game against Charlotte with left knee tendinitis. But Carlisle said: “I think he’s going to play. I’m not 100 percent sure.”
Tim MacMahon: Dirk Nowitzki will not play tonight against the Rockets, the first game he will miss this season. He did not make the trip with the Mavs, officially due to left ankle effusion. Neither did Wesley Matthews (lower back tightness) and J.J. Barea (return from injury management).
Earl K. Sneed: Rick Carlisle says Dirk Nowitzki will play tonight in L.A. Seth Curry (left shoulder) is out. #DALatLAC
Eddie Sefko: Dirk Nowitzki on right Achilles: “It hasn’t bothered me since I came back. Out of nowhere, it started to get tight.” wanted to finish game.
Earl K. Sneed: Dirk Nowitzki says his right Achilles started to get “tight” in the second quarter and the @Dallas Mavericks decided to shut him down.
Earl K. Sneed: Rick Carlisle says Dirk Nowitzki was experiencing “mild pain” in his right Achilles, so the @Dallas Mavericks pulled him. #DALatMIL
Dirk Nowitzki has a sore right Achilles’ tendon and will not return against the Bucks.
Earl K. Sneed: Rick Carlisle says he thinks Dirk Nowitzki is good to go with no restrictions tonight after 24 mins in Denver. Deron Williams is out.
Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki plans to play Friday night after an extended absence due to a strained right Achilles tendon.
Nowitzki told reporters after participating in shootaround that he would return Friday night for a road game against the LA Clippers. He added that he would play “spot minutes,” as he’ll be under a minutes restriction early in his comeback. “I’m excited to be back,” Nowitzki said. “Hopefully I can stay back this time.”
Earl K. Sneed: Dirk Nowitzki on his Achilles injury: “It hasn’t gotten worse from some of the stuff we’ve been doing, so I’ll be back out there soon. We’ll just see how that goes. I’d love to play as soon as I can, but I guess we’ll just see in a couple of days.”
Earl K. Sneed: Per @MavsPR, J.J. Barea (left calf strain) has been upgraded to questionable tonight in Denver. Dirk Nowitzki & Andrew Bogut are out.
Injured Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki expects to play at some point in December, telling ESPN he might “be a Christmas gift” for the Mavericks. Nowitzki, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, has been limited to only five games this season due to persistent soreness in his strained right Achilles tendon. He has not played since a Nov. 25 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the Mavs officially saying he is out indefinitely.
“The thing is, I think when I came back it was a little too early and I had a little setback,” said Nowitzki, who sat out eight consecutive games before playing in losses to the LA Clippers and Cavaliers and getting shut down again. “Everybody’s a little worried about starting it back up too early and then starting back where we were, so we’re taking it slow now. But it’s been getting better. I’ve been increasing the workload, and it hasn’t been sore. “Hopefully, I’ll be back in action anytime soon. Maybe I’m a Christmas gift.”
At what point do you think the Mavs shut Dirk down for good this year? Cowlishaw: I don’t think that will happen. Shutting him down might mean saying goodbye. If Dirk can’t play and produce it some point, he probably won’t come back. He made that clear to German media recently. So at some point Mavs need him on the floor if they don’t want to close the curtain on one of the greatest player of all time.
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March 26, 2019 | 1:33 am EDT Update
Joe Freeman: Terry Stotts calls Jusuf Nurkic injury “devastating.” The Blazers held a moment of silence and said a collective prayer in the locker room after the game. Nurkic has been taken to a Portland-area hospital.