Dirk Nowitzki to sit next four games

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will sit out the next four games, starting tonight at New Orleans, to rest his sore right knee, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle announced Saturday.

Carlisle said Nowitzki needs "an uninterrupted eight days of work to resolve some physical issues and conditioning issues." He emphasized that the break is designed to help Nowitzki get into better game shape.

The Mavs coach said Nowitzki would prefer to keep playing but coaches and training staff decided it would be better for the team if he is restricted from game activity for the next week. Carlisle stressed that "this is not a rest situation" but "quite the opposite."

Nowitzki, historically one of the most regimented workers in the league, has not shied away from the fact that he is not in typical game condition. On Wednesday, he said a combination of last season's run to the championship, followed by playing for Germany in the Olympic qualifying tournament in late summer and then a long layoff are at the root of his knee problem.

"It's just getting back in the groove," Nowitzki said. "We didnt' have the training camp that we wanted to. After the Euros [the Olympic qualifying tournament last summer] I was just sick of basketball, but I probably took too long of a time off, so it's going to take me a while to get back into it. But, it's [his knee] a lot better than it was three weeks ago, so that's encouraging and we'll keep on working."