Dallas is already in a transition season and will find itself strapped for scoring options as its No. 1 scorer is on the shelf for three to six weeks following the surgery.
If he is out for the extreme end of that spectrum, he’ll miss the first 16 games, not returning until December.
Dallas’ and Nowitzki’s decision to undergo the procedure now rather than later is a proactive approach and may end up benefiting the team in the long run, but it’s going to make the transition tough for the new-look Mavs.
Mark Cuban, according to Brad Townsend of DallasNews.com, was supportive of the move: “This is analogous to any player missing games. We just want to get Dirk healthy… It was about what was best for Dirk’s health.”
There’s no denying the impact that Dirk Nowitzki has on a game. He more or less single-handedly willed the Mavs to their NBA championship in 2010 with lights-out play.
ESPN Stats pointed out the impact of Nowitzki on the court for his Mavs via its Twitter account:
Dirk Nowitzki out 3-6 weeks (knee surgery). Per 48 minutes last season, Mavs scored 97.4 pts w/ Dirk on the floor, 89.0 pts with him off it—ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 19, 2012
Even when Dirk eventually does return, he’s going to have to have a period of integration and adjustment into his new teammates’ style.
The new-look Mavs have undergone a complete offseason reshaping. Gone are DeShawn Stevenson, Jason Kidd, Ian Mahinmi, Jason Terry and Brendan Haywood.
However, those departures have arguably been replaced by better role players like O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison and Chris Kaman. It remains to be seen how they will all come together and play as a team, though.
The biggest fear for Mavs fans should be that this new team may not be ready to take on the deep Western Conference without their star court general Nowitzki.
If that’s the case, it could put the Mavs into an early season whole they can’t dig themselves out of.