Spurs expect Dirk Nowitzki to play

DALLAS -- There hasn't been any definitive word from the Mavericks yet on Dirk Nowitzki's status for tonight's game.

However, the Spurs would be surprised if Nowitzki doesn't play in the meeting between the West powers and I-35 rivals.

"I’m quite confident Dirk will be out there tonight," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

Nowitzki suffered a mild sprain of his right knee during the second quarter of Monday's win over the Thunder. He didn't return to that game and said afterward that the knee had been bothering him for a couple of weeks.

The Mavs ruled Nowitzki out of Tuesday's game against the Raptors after he got an MRI that morning, although the results showed no serious damage. He's been listed as day-to-day since then.

The Mavs might make his status official when their shootaround ends in a few moments. Or they could extend the suspense by declaring him a gametime decision.

Not that the Spurs are eagerly anticipating the news.

"We’re planning as if he’s going to play," Tim Duncan said.