With a little less than three minutes remaining, Nowitzki rolled his left ankle when Phoenix Suns guard Gerald Green stepped on it. Nowitzki hobbled around for the rest of the possession and checked out of the game with 2:49 remaining.
He missed one possession and checked into the game 19 seconds later after limping around the Mavs’ bench area.
"He kind of chopped me, so I rolled my left ankle for the millionth time in my career," Nowitzki said. "I was able to go out, walk it off a bit and was able to finish the game somehow."
Nowitzki has developed a reputation for having rubber ankles, having quickly recovered from many ankle sprains during his 16-year career. He has suffered at least 10 significant sprains, but he missed a total of only 16 games due to those injuries.
This one isn’t considered significant, but Nowitzki would have at least gone into the tunnel to walk it off for a few minutes if there was more time remaining in the game.
"Usually, the first couple of minutes hurt, then I wait and it’s fine," Nowitzki said. "It was OK to go back in. There wasn’t anything great about it, but it was good enough to go back in."
With three days off, Nowitzki has no concern about his status for Wednesday’s regular-season finale in Memphis, where the West’s seventh seed could be at stake.
"This was obviously the best timing," Nowitzki said. "We’ve got plenty of time between games."