Nowitzki Frustrated with Knee Rehab Pace; Mavericks in Turmoil?

Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

The Dallas Mavericks are struggling to find their footing without their superstar Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup.  And unfortunately, the team will have to continue without him longer than they expected.

According to Jeff Caplan of NBA.com, the 11-time NBA All-Star continues to rehab his right knee since his arthroscopic surgery on Oct. 19 and will likely miss at least the next two weeks of basketball type activities.  Though, the injury could still require further surgery if it does not work itself out on its own.

The news came a bit frustrating to Nowitzki, who hoped to return to the court sooner and without the likelihood of another surgery.

“Unfortunately, I tried, but I couldn’t cut the time down,” Nowitzki said, per USA Today.  “I was obviously hoping to cut that time a lot shorter.  It’s been a frustrating time for me, especially watching and nothing I can really do.  So there have been some hard days, some frustrating days.  … But I think now it’s gotten better this last week or so and now I guess I’m seeing the end of the tunnel.”

The rarely injured Nowitzki, who has yet to miss significant time in his first 14 seasons, said he wouldn’t return to practice until the swelling in his knee resolved and that he was 100 percent strength-wise before he would return to practice, let alone debut with the Mavericks for the first time this season.

“Once that goal is reached, then I can obviously think about playing again,” he said.  “But I think we’re still far away from that.”

The 34-year-old Nowitzki is the heart and soul of the Mavericks’ organization and losing him for another extended period of time could be the last hope Dallas has of competing for a playoff spot and making a push towards another NBA title.

Without him, the Mavericks are a mere 6-6 on the season and have struggled against sub-par teams.  On Monday, the team dropped two of the last three including an overtime loss to the weary Golden State Warriors 105-101.

And their season doesn’t get any easier.  On Wednesday, Dallas will have the unlucky fortune of playing against the powerhouse New York Knicks, followed by a Saturday matchup against the resurgent Los Angeles Lakers.  Chances are the season will get a lot worse before it gets any better.

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