Dirk Nowitzki Injury: Updates on Mavericks Star's Ankle and Return

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 11, 2014

Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany smiles after being fouled during an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 116-106. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki exited Tuesday's road game against the Charlotte Bobcats in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle.

Earl K. Snead of Mavs.com reported the news, citing the team's official PR as the source, and noted that Nowitzki was questionable to return to the contest at Time Warner Cable Arena:

But Nowitzki would later return to action according to Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram:

After the Mav's 114-89 loss, Sneed added:

Expectations weren't particularly high for this Dallas squad in 2013-14. They have an aging nucleus and the 35-year-old Nowitzki as the primary cornerstone. However, the Mavs have made it work and are right in the thick of a tight playoff race in the Western Conference.

Nowitzki attributed his longevity to his ability to shoot from the perimeter as a seven-footer and the general evolution of the NBA game, per a Monday report by the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn:

I think the game obviously evolved a lot from when I first came in. All 4s were back-to-the-basket 4s, Charles [Barkley] obviously being the guy who backs in for 10 seconds, and then over the years with more stretch 4s, then we changed the rules and you can play zone now, [and] the game evolved away from all the one-on-one. But I think now it’s a more team game. All that iso ball went away, and as a 4, you have to know how to shoot. It’s been a fun evolution of the game.

The 2011 NBA Finals MVP has managed to continue being productive even in his 16th season in the Association, averaging 21.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists entering Tuesday's action.

Defense still isn't Nowitzki's strength, nor is it the strong suit for this Mavericks team. However, the squad is scoring enough to compensate for it.

Hopefully Nowitzki can return to the floor soon given the inspiring push he and Dallas have made this season. If such an integral piece to their offensive success in Nowitzki misses any significant time, though, the Mavs would be in trouble.