Mavs mum on Dirk's knee

DALLAS – How much of a concern is Dirk Nowitzki’s left knee?

Well, nobody in the Mavericks' organization seems to want to discuss it after Nowitzki wore a rubber sleeve on the knee in Tuesday’s win over the Washington Wizards.

Nowitzki brushed off a question that night by saying he’d “be all right” and calling himself a “piece of work,” which means work of progress in Dirkspeak. He referenced the Mavs’ busy schedule over the last couple of weeks and made it clear that he wanted to move on to another line of questioning.

A couple of days later, coach Rick Carlisle had even less to say on the subject.

“You have to ask [head athletic trainer Casey Smith] that,” Carlisle said. “I’m not sure.”

Smith does not discuss injuries with the media. In other words, Carlisle didn’t want to touch the topic.

Nowitzki, who missed the first 27 games of last season while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, had a precautionary MRI on his left knee after last season in case it needed a similar operation after 15 years of NBA wear and tear. Carlisle carefully manages Nowitzki’s minutes, keeping them in the low-30s per game, as preventative maintenance in large part because of the concern about his knees bothering him.

The rubber sleeve might not be reason for alarm, but any indication of issues with one of Nowitzki’s 35-year-old knees certainly merits monitoring.