Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki took part in a full practice for the 1st time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, but he won’t be in a position to make his season debut until some point after Christmas.
“We’ll just see how it goes,” asserted Nowitzki, who underwent the operation October 19. “This is the 1st day stopping, pushing off, and moving. We’ll see how it reacts. I’m going to do that a couple times, and do some contact for a bit. Maybe any time after Christmas, that will be fun.” But there isn’t any real date set. So we must see the way the knee reacts to the 1st couple workouts.”
Nowitzki stated that he felt “pretty good” after the relatively light practice, which he followed by playing 2-on-2 with some of the Mavs’ low-minutes players. But he recognized that it would most likely take “a while” to get in “halfway game shape” after a 2-month layoff.
The Mavs (12-13) begin a stretch featuring 6 consecutive foes that have winning records, started with home game against the Miami Heat. Nowitzki, an 11-time All-Star who has averaged 22.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in 14 NBA seasons, will miss at least half of those games.
Point guard Derek Fisher, who underwent an MRI to determine the seriousness of a strained patellar tendon in his right knee, also is expected to miss the Miami game. Forward/centers Elton Brand (groin) and Brandan Wright (ankle) possibly will be game-time decisions.
Once Nowitzki starts playing, he anticipates easing into the lineup, probably even coming off the bench.
“That’s something I guess we need to speak about when it gets to that point,” Nowitzki announced. “I’m not against obviously coming off the bench at the beginning and slowly finding my rhythm, but I think that’s something we want to talk about when it gets closer. We haven’t addressed that yet, but it’s clear I’m not going to play 35 minutes my first game out.”
The Mavs originally assumed Nowitzki would be well placed to resume basketball activities within 6 weeks of the surgery, but the 34-year-old’s recovery from his 1st knee operation has been slower than anticipated.
Nowitzki, who never had missed more than 9 games in a season, had been hoping to return to practice within 3 weeks of the operation. NFL lines
“It’s as slow as you can get unfortunately,” Nowitzki claimed of his recovery. “The swelling at the beginning was just so bad, and we do not really know why. Maybe I was trying too early to do something, no-one really knows.
“People react to surgery I believe different, and mine was just actually swollen and that really set me back 2 or 3 weeks, couldn’t actually do much. By that time we began doing a bit more, the strength was gone, my wind was gone, so the last 2 weeks I had to work tough to get some of that back, get my strength back, get some of my wind back.”