Time without Dirk Nowitzki cuts into development of chemistry

DALLAS -- As Rick Carlisle's good buddy Bill Walton used to say, it can only be minor surgery if the operation is on somebody else's body.

Nevertheless, the scope on Dirk Nowitzki's right knee falls into that category. Sources indicate that the Dallas Mavericks are optimistic that the face of their franchise could be back on the floor by the middle of November.

At that point, the remodeled Mavs will attempt to hit the reset button on their season. If only it were so simple to blend in a rehabbing superstar with an unfamiliar roster.

Forget about how the Mavs might fare against a soft schedule during Nowitzki's absence. The most frightening thing about his knee surgery, as far as this season goes, is the damage it will do to the chemistry development of Nowitzki and his potluck supporting cast.

For the first time since Nowitzki became an All-Star more than a decade ago, the Mavs will enter a season in serious jeopardy of not making the playoffs.

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