Blog Entry

Much-needed Dirk could be back Saturday

Posted on: January 14, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2011 12:36 am
SAN ANTONIO – Coach Rick Carlisle admitted that Saturday’s game in Memphis could mark the return of Dirk Nowitzki to the Team Formerly Known as the Mavericks

If it is, it’s not a minute too soon. 

The Mavs are lost without Nowitzki, who went through his first contact drills Friday in the strongest sign yet that he is ready to return after a nine-game absence with a sprained right knee. Dallas has lost seven of nine without Dirk, including a pointless 101-89 blowout at the hands of the Spurs

“Our whole team is out of whack,” Shawn Marion said. Nowitzki has been out since Dec. 28 as the day-to-day status of the injury became week-to-week, prompting rival executives to wonder if Nowitzki’s injury was worse than the team has been letting on. 

Those doubts were put to rest Friday, when Nowitzki went through one-on-one contact drills for the first time. Later, on the court before the Spurs game, Nowitzki worked up a decent sweat with an array of half-speed offensive drills. He flexed his knee and winced a couple of times, but other than that, his jumper was still silky smooth. 

The same cannot be said for the Mavs without him. 

“We’re missing that little edge we had when things did happen, when things would go wrong, because we would find a way with that edge to fight over the hump and get these wins,” Marion said. “We’ve got to find a way to get that back right now. Who knows? Dirk could come back and it might come back as well. But it might not.” 

In the third game without Nowitzki, the Mavs lost Caron Butler to a season-ending knee injury, leaving them without two of their top three scorers. They can’t replace Butler without a trade between now and the deadline, but help could be on the way from Dirk. Nowitzki said during the ESPN broadcast Friday night that he was "actually really close." Owner Mark Cuban said after the game Nowitzki would be a game-time decision Saturday night in Memphis – which would seem to be a significant upgrade over day-to-day and week-to-week. 

“I don’t know when he’s going to play,” Carlisle said. “We’ve been very consistent in that. We don’t know. He worked out hard today and we’ve got to see how he feels tomorrow. Tomorrow could be a possibility, but then again maybe not. We can’t mess with that.” 

And quite clearly, the Mavs can’t mess around without Dirk too much longer. 

“It’s going to be good to get a healthy team out there,” Tyson Chandler said. “It’s tough with guys playing out of position and stepping into roles they’re not accustomed to. It’ll be good to get back our team.” And that was exactly the right way to put it, because Dirk is the team.

Since: Jan 27, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2011 11:11 pm

Much-needed Dirk could be back Saturday

I agree with your second statement but how does that qualify him for MVP?  Just because the rest of the team sucks without him shouldn't qualify him for MVP.  At least, not in my humble opinion.

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2011 2:30 pm

Much-needed Dirk could be back Saturday

Looks like Dirk should be right up there this year for MVP. This injury clearly shows without him Mavs are not a good team.

Since: Jan 27, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2011 9:34 am

Much-needed Dirk could be back Saturday

From high school to college and then to the NBA.  High school and particularly in college, the team is built around one person.  You'd think, in the NBA, where players are well paid for their efforts....there would be enough talent to sustain a "team" during the absence of one player.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2011 3:59 am

Much-needed Dirk could be back Saturday

forget iguodala - not going to happen.   dirk isnt going to be 100 percent when he comes back and i hope the mavs continue to lose/
they are a one dimensional team -  without dirk they stink

Since: Jan 16, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2011 2:03 am

Much-needed Dirk could be back Saturday

This is great news! I have extreme faith in  Mark Cuban to bring in another piece or two (Hopefully Andre Iguadalla) with Butler being lost for the season, but without Nowitzki, this Mavericks team has no shot of competing for an NBA title. I hope that he isn't rushed back too soon though, this may very well be a make or break year for Nowitzki and the Mavs. This is one of the better Dallas teams I've seen (When Dirk is healthy) since Nowitzki, Finley, and Nash were playing together.

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