Dirk Nowitzki returns in season debut against Spurs
It was an early Christmas miracle for the Dallas Mavericks fans as Dirk Nowitzki was warm upped before Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center.
Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t in the Dallas Mavericks’ starting lineup and is expected to play heavily limited minutes going forward. However, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki’s mere presence provides a big boost to the team, who entered Sunday’s game just three games below .500 in the absence of their 15-time All-Star and other big-time sorcerers like O.J. Mayo.
The 34-year-old Dirk Nowitzki entered the game on the 6:28 mark in the first quarter, replacing Dahntay Jones. Dirk Nowitzki immediately stepped up for the Dallas Mavericks, with his first rebound only 16 seconds later. With 2:41 minutes left in the first quarter, Dirk Nowitzki took a steal off San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobli followed by two more defensive rebounds. However, Dirk Nowitzki took home his first points in the game with a dunk on the 23.9 mark, and closing the first quarter with the Dallas Mavericks trailing San Antonio Spurs by six points.
The former MVP Dirk Nowtizki has played in only one preseason game before he was shut down following a 19th October arthroscopic surgery on the right knee.
Although Dirk Nowitzki expected to return for practice within three weeks of undergoing the surgery, he ended up missing more time due to ensuing knee issues.
“It's as slow as you can get unfortunately,” Dirk Nowitzki discussed his rehab last week. “The swelling at the beginning was just so bad, and we don't really know why. Maybe I was trying too early to do something, nobody really knows.”
“People react to surgery I guess different, and mine was just really swollen and that really set me back two or three weeks,” continued Dirk Nowitzki. “By that point… strength was gone, my wind was gone, so the last two weeks I had to work extremely hard to get some of that back, get my strength back, get some of my wind back.”
Dirk Nowitzki went through his first full practice this season on Wednesday, saying he expected to return in his regular season debut no earlier than Christmas, but he it will take some time and commitment to slide back into the starting lineup.
“That's something I guess we need to talk about when it gets to that point,” Dirk Nowitzki stated on Wednesday. “I'm not opposed to obviously coming off the bench at the beginning and slowly finding my rhythm, but I think that's something we need to talk about when it gets closer.”
“We haven't addressed that yet,” added Dirk Nowitzki, “but it's obvious I'm not going to play 35 minutes my first game out.”
The 15-year NBA veteran Dirk Nowitzki has career averages of 22.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.