Less than three weeks before the regular season begins, Dirk Nowitzki is having problems with his right knee again. The Dallas Mavericks star battled the issue for several months last season, leading to his lowest output in more than a decade.
Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports Nowitzki hopes he can avoid surgery. The veteran power forward is going to see how he feels after a break and then decide on a course of action, knowing the season is right around the corner.
We’ll see how it responds. But the longer we wait, obviously the worse it is. If we have to do something, it’d be better to do it quick.
But we’re still hopeful that this is a temporary thing. If we relax and rest it for a week and see how it goes, then we’ll have a better idea.
UPDATE: Friday, Oct. 12 at 2:05 p.m. ET by Mike Shiekman
Dirk Nowitzki's knee issues won't keep him out of practice, as Earl K. Sneed, Mavs.com beat writer, reports:
Rick Carlisle says Dirk Nowitzki (right knee effusion) was a full participant in today's practice.— Earl K. Sneed (@EKS_MavsNBA) October 12, 2012
Surgery may in the cards for Nowitzki down the line, but he and the Mavs both agree that immediate action won't be necessary. It will be an interesting to see whether Dallas will limit Nowitzki's minutes, as they will be jockeying for West playoff position all season.
--End of Update--
The fact Nowitzki is already having problems with his knee makes it a worrisome situation for the Mavericks. Getting through 82 games and a likely playoff run when he's already feeling some discomfort would be a tall task.
If it was an isolated situation, the idea of taking a week off to see how the knee responds would be the right move. But since it's the second consecutive year in which he's dealt with the same type of problem, it's concerning to say the least.
While Nowitzki has rarely missed more than a handful of games in a season, even the most durable players start to wear down from the annual grind. All the mileage on their legs eventually catches up with them, especially for post players.
If the time off doesn't result in a full recovery, Nowitzki and the Mavericks should immediately begin exploring their options. There's no reason to let the issue linger all season, as it could potentially lead to bigger problems down the road.
Luckily, Dallas has a reliable veteran backup at power forward in Elton Brand. He's capable of filling a short-term void just in case the team's biggest star is forced to miss a few games.
It's rare that this type of issue just disappears, so Nowitzki will likely have to chose between dealing with some pain throughout the season or undergoing surgery, which the report states would probably only sideline him for a couple of weeks.
He wants to avoid surgery, but it may turn out to be the best option.