Nowitzki, 34, did not play in the Mavericks' preseason loss Tuesday to FC Barcelona Regal in Spain because of swelling and soreness in the knee, which bothered him early last season before he took four games off to work on his conditioning. After that, Nowitzki mentioned that he might need to get the knee scoped for the first time in his 15-year NBA career.
"I really don't know why the swelling keeps coming back," Nowitzki said Friday. "I can't really finger-point it. Maybe there's something floating in there that shouldn't be floating in there. We'll only know that for sure if we do a scope, but as for now, we haven't. I'm just going to keep working this weekend and see how the knee responds."
The Mavericks' medical staff, headed by Team USA athletic trainer Casey Smith, will monitor Nowitzki's knee on a day-to-day basis. If the swelling returns, Nowitzki said "we'll have to look at something else," referring to the arthroscopic procedure to discover and possibly fix the cause of the swelling.
Nowitzki, who is coming off his worst statistical year since his second NBA season, indicated that he would like to have a decision made by next week. This would give him a chance to be ready for the Mavs' Oct. 30 season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nowitzki has not missed more than nine games in any season.
"Probably the sooner, the better if we decide [surgery]," said Nowitzki, who emphasized weight training with his legs during the offseason in an attempt to avoid knee problems. "I don't want to wait until October 30th and then have a scope. That's pretty obvious.
"I've never liked missing games in my career. I've always liked to be there for the boys. If that's something we need to look at, if the swelling comes back next week, we've got a decision to make."