NEW ORLEANS - Part of the reason Dirk Nowitzki will be sidelined for a minimum of four games is because of a lack of conditioning.
The Dallas Mavericks forward recently admitted his conditioning is not where he wants it to be. Not long after that, he started wearing a protective sleeve on his right knee, the same knee that caused him to miss nine games last season.
Before Saturday's game against the New Orleans Hornets, coach Rick Carlisle explained some of the reasons Nowitzki will be out a minimum of four games. “It covers the knee, it covers conditioning and it covers whatever else,'' Carlisle said.
After the Mavs won the NBA championship last June, Nowitzki played for his home country, Germany, in the Olympic qualifying tournament. He said he eventually got sick of basketball and proceeded to take too much time off from the game.
Then, after the lockout ended, a two-week training camp ensued, which was two weeks shorter than a normal training camp. And apparently it wasn't enough time for Nowitzki to get his legs under him.
The Mavs, not wanting to put any more physical stress on their franchise player, decided it was time to sit Nowitzki, who officially is listed with a sore right knee.
Lamar Odom started tonight's game against the Hornets in place of Nowitzki. But Yi Jianlian and Shawn Marion also saw time at Nowitzki's position in the first half, which ended tied at 41-41.
“Again, it doesn't fall on just one guy,'' Carlisle said. “Everybody is going to have to do their job and do it well.''
-- Dwain Price
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