Monday, March 24, 2008

Nowitzki out for immediate future

Dirk Nowitzki is out for at least the next week, and possibly longer, though no official timetable has been set for his return. MRI tests confirmed a moderate left high ankle and mild left knee sprain for the reigning MVP.

“Every one of those types of injuries heals differently,” Avery Johnson said Monday after practice. “We’re just hoping that we catch a break and his heals pretty soon, but right now Dirk’s not coming back and that’s the way we’ve got to look at it. In the meantime we’ve got to have some really good efforts from the whole team.”

Nowitzki was injured in Sunday’s loss to San Antonio at the 3:19 mark of the third quarter. He had just blocked the shot of Ime Udoka before his left leg buckled under the Spurs forward. The seven-time All Star is currently walking in a protective boot without crutches.

“It was really an awkward and unfortunate play,” Nowitzki said. “My leg kind of got caught in the wrong place, so it’s just a little disappointing now, but the good thing is it could have been a lot worse. I was really lucky. Something more could have happened to my knee or my leg could have been broken, so I think this is the best-case scenario.”

Nowitzki is on pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication. He was up every two hours Sunday night icing the knee. Nowitzki has traditionally been a quick healer, but, as he freely admits, high ankle and knee sprains are uncharted territory.

“I don’t really have any experience with this,” he said. “This is fairly new to me, and with the knee, I never really had a knee problem or a sprained knee before. I’m just going to take it day-by-day. The first 48 hours are important.”

As for the timetable, Nowitzki echoed the team’s assessment: “I really don’t know how long it’s going to take. A week, two weeks, I really have no idea.”

The Mavs return to action Tuesday against the Clippers at home and only 12 games remain in the regular season, which ends April 16. The Mavs currently sit seventh in the Western Conference and have road games coming up at playoff contenders Denver (Thursday) and Golden State (Sunday).

“Looking at the tight playoff picture, every game hurts to sit out,” Nowitzki said. “This is probably the most painful time to miss games, so that’s very discouraging. Like I said, I’m trying to see a positive and it could have been a lot worse. It could have been a season-ending injury or even career-ending.”

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1 comment:

Lizzy said...

As long as he doesn't rush back too soon and play with a lingering problem, I think the Mavs will be absolutely fine. It's not as if we have nobody that can step up. Big shoes to fill, but the guys can do it as a team. I'm shocked by my thoughts, but I have no worries about this.

This could be a blessing: Dirk gets some rest before the Playoffs and everyone else gets extra time. When he comes back, the reserves will have seen their production up and shown what I know they are capable of, right in time for the Playoffs, and Dirk will be fresh.

Maybe they needed this. Dirk being on crutches takes away the Mavs' ability to go to him as a crutch. They will be stronger, having to stand without him, and when he's healthy, throwing our MVP back into the mix will only make them even better.