Friday, April 4, 2008

Nowitzki playing through the pain

Dirk Nowitzki won’t be right physically this season. He knows it. Avery Johnson knows it. But that’s not going to keep the reigning MVP off the floor.

“It won’t be good for a while, but it doesn’t matter at this point,” Nowitzki said today after shootaround. “Like I said the other day, if this were November there’s no way I’m playing right now. It’s not November and like last year we’re not 20 games up on the 2 spot. I just have to play through some stuff.”

Nowitzki is playing with a custom-made brace built into his left sneaker to stabilize the ankle. He’s compensating by keeping it simple out there. As he said, let the other guys do the running and take spot-up shots when open. The adrenalin rush of just playing is also helping with the pain.

Knowing his limitations right now is a sign of basketball smarts.

“Offensively, I think I can predict more what I can do,” he said. “Defensively, you’re always reacting. A guy might be driving and you might have to go up for a block, so defensively it’s kind of hard to just be out there and not do anything.

“Offensively, if I don’t really feel like going to the basket, I can always dribble hand-off or swing it to Josh or move it or set a pick-and-roll because my movement is not quite there yet.”

Nowitzki had another afternoon of treatment ahead to deal with the soreness. There’s only so much that can be done less than two weeks from suffering the injury.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be significantly improved as the season wears on,” Johnson said. “It may just stay where it is. The only thing that can help this particular injury is total rest and he’s not going to get that right now.”

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