Nowitzki (knee) Back at Practice

Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Dirk Nowitzki took to the practice floor for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair his right knee two months ago, ESPNDallas.com reported on Thursday. The veteran forward said he would be open to a bench role in the first few weeks as to ease his way back into game shape.

Dallas Morning News’ Eddie Sefko had this to report:

“Wednesday was the first day that Nowitzki has done court work and while he was limited to shooting and dribbling with no full running or cutting, it was therapeutic for him and the Mavericks to see him working.

“But he said the recovery process from his October knee surgery remains slow and he’s not close to returning…

“… ‘I don’t think (the) middle of December is happening (for his return) to be honest. That was my goal a couple weeks ago. But the swelling was in there too long and it held me back too long and I couldn’t start working soon enough.’ “

The news couldn’t come soon enough for Dallas Maverick fans, considering the team was expecting their 34-year-old All-Star back in the lineup as early as mid-December. However, the team’s training staff announced that the timetable of his recovery would be pushed back towards early January.

Nowitzki injured his right knee in the preseason and has been sidelined for the entire season thus far. With him on the mend, the Mavericks have only mustered a 12-13 record, which pits them in fourth place in the Southwest division.

The Mavericks have slipped a few pegs in the pecking order since their 2011 title season, where the team ranked No. 8 in offensive efficiency. Even more so, Nowitzki posted his best season at the age of 32, averaging 21.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

Life without Nowitzki has been a hard pill to swallow for Mavericks’ fans. Though, O.J. Mayo has come on to lead Dallas in his absence, the team is not nearly as good as many pundits anticipated. But given a healthy Nowitzki through the second half of the season and an emerging star in Mayo, and the Mavs could very well make a push for a playoff spot. Just don’t look for them to contend for a title anytime soon.

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