Mavericks coach Avery Johnson stepped off the team plane around 3 p.m. today after the club stayed overnight in L.A. and headed straight to the arena to pay a visit to injured star Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki worked out for about 45 minutes and took part in a 3-on-3 scrimmage, including some contact, with selected teammates.
Nowitzki's status was upgraded to day-to-day, so his availability for Wednesday's huge home game against Golden State remains up in the air, but Nowitzki's healing process from a high left ankle sprain and left knee sprain appears to be on the fast track. He is expected to be at the team's shootaround Wednesday morning and is also expected to address the media after the workout.
Johnson, signing his new book "Aspire Higher" at a Dallas Barnes & Noble, had this to say about Nowitzki's workout Tuesday:
"He shot a few shots, he made a few, missed a few and he moved, you know, OK, so we'll see how he recovers for tomorrow. We'll know more if it's a game-time decision once we see how he recovers and then once he goes through shootaround. But, he was able to go through some contact, but is he ready to play in a game? We'll have to wait and see. But, he felt pretty good."
If Nowitzki does return tonight or even Friday at the Lakers and Sunday against the Suns, Nowitzki will be faced with up-tempo, up-and-down paces, and often at break-neck speed against the Warriors and Suns.
"We wish it was a game where it was going to be a half-court game and he was guarding some big 280-pound guy that doesn't have much lateral movement, that would be a perfect scenario," Johnson said. "Tomorrow's game is a pretty quick game and they [the Warriors] love to play four guards and one big guy, so he would have to guard one of those smaller guys. Or, if we go small, which we can do, and put him at 5, he can guard one of their centers. Matchups are going to be critical tomorrow if he's able to go, which we don't know at this point."
-- Jeff Caplan