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Mark Cuban clears up Dirk confusion

Has conditioning ever been more confusing?

Coach Rick Carlisle said part of the reason for Dirk Nowitzki’s personal training camp was to give the Mavs’ superstar time to work on his conditioning. Nowitzki is “not sure why coach threw that out there,” saying the four-game layoff was solely about getting his sore right knee better.

Owner Mark Cuban provided a little clarity on the sore subject during his Friday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Ben and Skin Show.”

“His knee hurts because he didn’t have the time to prepare,” Cuban said. “When you don’t have the time to prepare, you’re not conditioned to play the way you’re accustomed to.

“So it’s not like he was a fat slob. It’s like anything else. The older you get, the more prepared you have [to be], particularly when you’re Dirk, when you have a very definitive process you go through every summer. When you can’t do that, you’re not going to be in position to play your best basketball.”

That, by the way, is basically what Carlisle has been saying. Nobody has claimed that the Finals MVP is out of shape by mortal standards. But it takes an extreme level of fitness for Nowitzki to be the dominant NBA force that he’s been for the last decade.

“He’s playing in an NBA game where it’s physical and it’s fast,” Cuban said. “If you’re not in optimum shape, which Dirk has always put the time in to be when he got to camp, then you’re going to pay the price. That’s what this is.

“I’ve talked to our doctors. It’s a reflection of all the bumps and bruises that anybody who has played as long as he has. Like Dirk said, he didn’t spend the summer preparing. He played – he regrets that he played for the German team – and he took time off. That’s not the way Dirk prepares for a season.”