Mavs' Nowitzki still unsure when he'll play

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki was hoping to be back on the court sooner, even when the Dallas Mavericks were saying after his surgery that it could be at least six weeks before any basketball activity.

The perennial All-Star forward instead is finding out just how difficult and frustrating it can be recovering from surgery.

Nowitzki said Tuesday that he's still about two weeks away from getting back on the court to start running and shooting. That would put him at just more than six weeks since arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Oct. 19 — and he still isn't sure when he will start playing again after that.

"Unfortunately, I tried, but I couldn't cut the time down," Nowitzki said. "I was obviously hoping to cut that time a lot shorter. It's been a frustrating time for me, especially watching and nothing I can really do. So there have been some hard days, some frustrating days. ... But I think now it's gotten better this last week or so and now I guess I'm seeing the end of the tunnel."

Nowitzki, who never had surgery in his first 14 NBA seasons, said the goal has always been for the swelling to be gone and he has to be 100 percent strength-wise before he will play again. There are still good days and bad days with the swelling.

"Once that goal is reached, then I can obviously think about playing again," he said. "But I think we're still far away from that."

He was able this week to increase his off-court workload, including leg presses and getting back on an elliptical machine.

The 34-year-old, 7-foot German decided to have surgery after problems with swelling early in training camp. Nowitzki had issues with the same knee two seasons ago when he missed time before the Mavs won their only NBA title, then skipped a week last January to strengthen and condition that knee.

The Mavericks (6-6) are trying to get by with eight new players. They could go 20 games or more before getting a chance to play with Nowitzki.


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