OAKLAND, Calif. – Dirk Nowitzki unexpectedly sat out Thursday's game against Golden State with a strained right adductor, marking the first game he's missed since returning to the Dallas Mavericks lineup on Dec. 23.
He explained after the game that the injury actually occurred in the final minutes of Tuesday's game in Portland.
"I felt a little a little pull in the fourth quarter in the Portland game," he said. "I told the trainers about it in the game and was able to finish it. After the game I was already pretty sore the other night. I was hobbling. Yesterday I wasn't very good, but the meds actually kicked in pretty nicely. So actually I gave it a shot before the game, but I couldn't really get loose.
"I could shoot but I couldn't really jump or push up sideways or make hard moves. It was just bothering me, so I didn't want to risk anything and we'll see how it responds in the next 24 hours. But I don't think it's going to change much before the Phoenix game."
At this point, it appears very doubtful that Nowitzki will be available to play in Friday night's game in Phoenix. Both he and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle voiced concern after the game about rushing him back too fast.
"It's possible but doubtful," Carlisle said of Dirk playing against the Suns. "We don't want to risk anything right now."
"I don't know. I need that good deer antler spray," Nowitzki jokingly added. "I don't know if 24 hours will change it much. Obviously we've got a tough back to back. I'm on the anti-inflammatories and we'll see if they kick in more until tomorrow, but I doubt it. We'll see what happens tomorrow night. We'll see if I even try to go. But hopefully Monday -- we'll see how it responds this weekend."
In Nowitzki's absence, the undersized but energized Dallas team hung tough with the upstart Warriors, even having an opportunity to win on the final possession. But Andrew Bogut blocked Brandan Wright's 5-footer and, following two Jarrett Jack free throws, Vince Carter's last-second 3-pointer caught iron.
The good news for the Mavs is that Nowitzki's latest injury appears to be unrelated to the knee injury that cost him the first 27 games of the season, at least according to the player himself.
"I don't think it has anything to do with the knee," he said. "The knee has been fine. It's been responding fine and hasn't been swollen at all."