DALLAS – Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he has no long-term concerns about Dirk Nowitzki’s right knee and suggested the 7-footer could miss more than four games if necessary and that other players could be held out of games as the compacted, 66-game schedule unfolds.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle on Saturday announced the unusual step of holding the reigning NBA Finals MVP out of four games, not so much to rest his sore right knee as to put Nowitzki through a training-camp like week of workouts designed to strengthen his knee and his overall conditioning.
“It’s not about his knee. His knee wasn’t feeling well, but that’s a symptom of everything else,” Cuban said prior to Monday’s game with the Phoenix Suns, the second of a scheduled four games Nowitzki will miss. “So, it’s not like there’s some problem. Even if it was his head, we would still do the exact same thing.
“There’s nothing specifically wrong. Dirk has a process to get ready. You mess with the process; he just didn’t feel right. … It’s not just Dirk, it’s other guys, too. It’s a first for us in dealing with a lockout.”
Depending upon the progress he makes during the week, Nowitzki could be held out longer. He missed nine games last season after spraining the same knee. The Mavs went 2-7 in his absence. They won their first game without him Saturday, holding off a late charge by the New Orleans Hornets.
Carlisle said Nowitzki went through two workouts Monday and will be doing multiple workouts most days with “strategic recovery periods” in between.
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