Once back, Dirk Nowitzki will try to blend in

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki looked forward to having a full month of training camp and eight exhibition games to work out the kinks with a team that features eight newcomers, including three starters.

He ended up getting one week and one game. The get-to-know-you-process will have to happen on the fly once Nowitzki can get back on the floor sometime next month.

“It stinks,” Nowitzki said. “There’s no other way to put it.”

Dirk’s supporting cast will have to find ways to win while the 11-time All-Star is out. A soft schedule that features eight opponents coming off lottery berths in the first 12 games should help that cause.

Upon Nowitzki’s return, the Mavs will completely retool their offensive style. The best-shooting 7-footer in NBA history will take his place as the centerpiece, although Nowitzki says that doesn’t necessarily need to happen immediately.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Nowitzki said, referring to missing so much work with his new teammates. “But in the long run, it’s better off to have (the operation) done. Usually, I’m not much of a selfish player. I don’t need 40 touches a game. I can blend in. If a guy’s on a nice roll, I can take the ball out, be the trailer, shoot some threes.

“We’ll just have to wait and see how I come back. I don’t really see it as a big problem.”