Dirk Nowitzki hobbled down the stairs from the team locker room to the practice floor to talk to the media for the first time since he sustained the ugly injury to his left knee and ankle Sunday afternoon. An MRI Monday confirmed that he has a high ankle sprain and a mild knee sprain. The team did not put a timetable on his return. After Sunday's game, owner Mark Cuban indicated that Nowitzki would miss in the vicinity of two weeks. It could be more. Here's Dirk's press conference:
Q: Where's the pain?
A: I'm on some painkillers, obviously, so the pain is not that bad. Just a little stiff, mostly the ankle. Both the knee as well. Got a little knee sprain, too, so ... Just really an awkward, unfortunate play. My leg really got caught in the wrong place. It's a little disappointing now, but I think the good thing is it could've been a lot worse. I was really lucky. Something more could've happened to my knee or the leg could've been broken. I think this is the best-case scenario.
Q: Can you be optimistic this late in the season?
Q: Do you believe your teammates are ready to step up?
Q: Can the Mavs make the playoffs without you?
A: Well, we'll see what happens. In this league anything's possible. Everything's so tight, but if we rally together, sometimes a team comes closer together if a player goes down. So, we'll just see what happens, but I'm confident in the guys and we'll go from there.
Q: If the team doesn't make the playoffs, do you want to see the coaching staff and roster return next season for another try?
A: I'm not thinking about all that yet. We're in the middle of a playoff hunt, as of now we're still in the playoffs, so I don't even want to think that we're not going to make the playoffs. I'm going to ice my butt off for the next couple of days and hopefully I can be out there as soon as I can. I don't even want to think about that we don't make the playoffs, that's not how I want to think.
Q: What will your rehab consist of?
A: I'm on anti-inflammatories, lots of icing, it's important for the first 48 hours because of the swelling, then I really don't know. We'll take it day-by-day, trust our trainers, trust our doc, then go from there. Hopefully I can move where I can already go on the underwater treadmill a little bit in the next couple of days so at least I can put some pressure on it and see how it feels. That's kind of where I go.
Q: Terrell Owns used a hyperbaric chamber in his recovery from a high ankle sprain, any thoughts on that?
A: I don't have any experience in that area so whatever really I need to do I will do. I always have done that, whatever I need to do to get my health back is what I will do. Like I said, I will trust the doctor, our trainer, obviously, and they will make the correct decisions for me. They obviously have my best interests and the Mavericks' best interests at heart.
Q: How quickly do you think you can recover?
A: I don't really know. Like I said, everybody responds different to things. Everybody is different. I don't really know. All I know is my knee is a little stiff and so is the ankle.
Q: Will you travel with the team on Wednesday for the three-game trip to Denver, Golden State and LA Clippers?
A: I don't know. We have another day tomorrow, a full day of treatment, full day today and then travel on Wednesday, so I really have no idea. When I actually say I take it day-by-day, it's saying with this injury I'll do whatever they tell me. I'd love to go and support the troops and be there, but if it's best to stay here and get treatment and sleep in whatever chamber I need to sleep in, I'll do that.
Q: The Rockets won 10 straight after Yao Ming wend down with an injury, does that lend hope that the Mavs can carry on?
A: Every team is different, but I think we can rally around it. We have enough guys that can play. Malik Allen fits in great, he'll see some time now at the four-spot [power forward], he can spread the floor, shoot, he's a pretty good defender. We all know what [Brandon] Bass brings. We can even go small with [Devean] George at the four some against the smaller teams that are coming up, Golden State, Phoenix we have in this run. We're deep enough, hopefully everybody else will stay healthy and we'll be all right.
-- Jeff Caplan