Although every fan knew the time would eventually come, it's still hard to comprehend Dirk Nowitzki not going out there for the Dallas Mavericks each and every night and being one of the most consistently dominant players in the NBA.
After all, for the past decade-plus, Nowitzki has been doing just that on his way to being one of the top 20 scorers in NBA history.
Nowitzki seemed to have peaked in 2011, when he led the underdog Mavericks to a stunning NBA Finals defeat of the Miami Heat en route to the team's first-ever NBA championship.
However, last season, whether it was because of the lockout, the shortened season or just lack of motivation after winning his first ring, Dirk lacked the intensity that he usually brought and had a down season for his standards.
Now, Nowitzki has suffered a serious knee injury that will keep him sidelined for three to six weeks after surgery.
All of this begs the question: Just how much more does Dirk have left to give to the Mavericks?
This is not to suggest he will fall off the map. When Dirk returns, he is still going to be an All-Star-caliber player and lead the team.
But the days where Dirk dominates all game long and creates impossible matchups while knocking down everything he throws toward the rim may be a thing of the past soon, if not now.
Nowitzki is 34, and with his degrading health and age, one has to figure that at max, Dirk has three years left to be a great NBA player if he stays healthy throughout that time period.
If Dallas doesn't improve its roster, it won't win a title with its current group of guys, so maybe at some point, it would behoove both parties to part ways and give Nowitzki one last chance at ring No. 2 somewhere else.
It's just a thought and could be a year or two away from becoming a serious one, but Dirk's potential slide will be one of the biggest things to look out for this year for the Mavericks.