Dirk Nowitzki has a cold; Vince Carter going home

LOS ANGELES -- Dirk Nowitzki missed Wednesday morning's shootaround with a cold and coach Rick Carlisle said he is hopeful his leading scorer will be able to play in tonight's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Vince Carter is already out of action and is headed back to Dallas today to have his sprained left foot examined Thursday by team doctor T.O. Souryal. That takes Carter out for Thursday's game at Utah and Saturday's at the New Orleans Hornets.

If Nowitzki plays tonight, he'll have a difficult assignment guarding Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, who is coming off a 10-point outing in Tuesday's blowout loss at Utah, is averaging 21.9 points on 52.9 percent shooting -- and has improved his mid-range jumper -- and 11.4 rebounds.

Carlisle said it takes a village, or something close to it, to take on Griffin.

"We've got to have a whole posse of guys ready to play him and a lot of different defensive schemes depending on who plays him," Carlisle said. "He's made great strides as a player and now he's playing with better guys and that's elevated his game even moreso. Defending him in their basic stuff is challenging enough and then the stuff where he's running and flying to the rim, that's the stuff where we've got to, as a team, be back, get bodies on him and all those kind of things."