Nowitzki, Carlisle return; Dirk jokes Cowboys made him sick again

Dirk Nowitzki returned to the Mavericks with his sense of humor intact after a weekend bout with an illness.

“I felt a lot better already come Sunday, until I watched the Cowboys’ game,” Nowitzki joked after Monday’s practice, according to the team website. “Then I got sick again.”

Coach Rick Carlisle and Nowitzki were both back at the American Airlines Center on Monday after missing Saturday night’s game due to an illness.

It was the first game Nowitzki, who leads the Mavs with 21.1 points per game, missed this season. Carlisle had not missed a game since a one-game absence after undergoing knee surgery in December 2010.

“The good thing is we don’t play till Wednesday, so I was a little sluggish obviously today, because I couldn’t hold any fluids in or eat anything really for two days,” said Nowitzki, who watched the Mavs’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks from home. “So my legs felt a little heavy in practice, but it was good to get a sweat in after a couple of days and we have another practice tomorrow. If I feel a lot better tomorrow, then by Wednesday hopefully I’ll be 100 percent.”