DALLAS -– All things considered, Dirk Nowitzki acknowledged that he’s doing fine four days after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
The Dallas Mavericks’ forward spoke to the media Tuesday for the first time since undergoing the first major surgery of his stellar 15-year career. Asked how he was feeling, Nowitzki said: “Not bad considering it’s my first major procedure that I’ve done in my career.
“And I really, really obviously don’t know what to expect.''
Nowitzki is expected to be sidelined for six weeks, and he didn’t give any indication that the timetable would be pushed up.
“A timetable at this point is probably ridiculous to talk about,’’ Nowitzki said. “Any time you have surgery on the knee there’s going to be swelling afterwards, and it’s just hard to say right now ...
“I think when you come off your first knee surgery you want to make sure all the swelling is gone, you want to make sure all the strength is fully back 100 percent, then you start going on the court. Then you can start shooting again and running and put another week or two on the court in before you even start thinking about playing again.’’
Although Nowitzki said he would love to be back in time for next Tuesday’s regular season opener against the Los Angles Lakers, he said he won’t rush back onto the court even if the Mavs’ have a poor record while he’s sidelined.
“I think two years ago, when I came back from my knee injury in the championship year, we didn’t do too well,’’ Nowitzki said. “I was out for nine games -- I probably came back way too early.
“I didn’t look good, I didn’t have my wind up, I was struggling there. So I don’t think this year that’s something that we’re going to do.’’
Coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavs will have to make do until Nowitzki returns.
"You talked to Dirk, so you don't need to talk to me about Dirk,'' Carlisle said. "Whatever the timetable is, whatever he said is what's happening, and we're just going to go from there.
"No disrespect, but I'm not a doctor and you're asking me questions about stuff that. . .We haven't had him for two weeks, so we're kind of getting used to it.''
Point guard Darren Collison certainly misses having a player of Nowitzki's caliber to turn to whenever the Mavs need a clutch basket.
"We defnitely do have some weapons who can make plays,'' Collison said. "Would we rather have Dirk, of course we'd rather have Dirk.
"When Dirk's in the game it seems like everybody's got easier shots because the defense decides to focus on him. It just means we've got to work a little bit harder, go to the paint a little bit more and we'll be fine.''
At age 34, Nowitzki knows his body isn’t the same as it was at age 24, and that recovery time sometimes can be tricky.
“I don’t think that’s going to change our approach with rushing back,’’ Nowitzki said. “We’ve got to make sure the swelling is 100 percent out and I’ve got my strength back.
“Once the swelling’s gone we can push more from day to day. Once the swelling’s gone we’re going to do a lot of court stuff and running and see how the knee responds to all that. We’re still a few weeks away from that.’’
In the meantime, Nowitzki will continue to rehab and hope for the best.
“I was walking around and looking around the house early in the weekend,’’ Nowitzki said. “Obviously I elevated it a lot and iced it a lot and I’m trying to do some exercises already, so I’m actually encouraged.
“So we’ll see how the next couple of weeks go.’’
-- Dwain Price
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