DALLAS -- After going through a light workout Wednesday with his Dallas Maverick teammates, Dirk Nowitzki said he doesn't have a timetable set for whenever he'll be able to play in a live basketball game.
But from the sound of it, Nowitzki likely won't be back until the last week of this month or the first week of January.
Nowitzki underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Oct. 19, but said constant swelling in the knee has prevented him from returning to the court sooner than he wanted to.
"It wasn't really hurting that much in the first place,'' Nowitzki said of his knee. "It was just stuff in there that was irritating it and it was constantly swelling.
"We didn’t want to play the season on a swollen knee.''
Whenever he does return, Nowitzki would like to see his minutes limited to 20-25 per game for the first few games until he's his old self again.
"I'm not opposed to coming off the bench at the beginning and slowly finding my rhythm,'' Nowitzki said. "But I think that’s something we need to talk about when it gets closer, and we haven’t addressed that yet.
"I think it's obvious I'm not going to play 35 minutes the first game out. That’s something I think we’re going to talk about next week.''
Coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki will be back in due time, and not a moment too soon.
"Dirk’s been doing a lot of things, so this is no different really than any other day,'' Carlisle said. "But he's doing OK.
"It wasn’t a full, full, full contact day, so he’s working hard.''
Nowitzki has yet to play this season. The Mavs have a 12-13 record going into Thursday's home game against the world champion Miami Heat.
-- Dwain Price
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