DALLAS -- The NBA fans and coaches have spoken. And for the first time since the 1997-'98 season, the NBA will stage its All-Star Weekend without Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.
But Mavs forward Vince Carter doesn't believe Nowitzki is bothered by the omission at all.
"He’s been injured (and) I think he’d rather just relax,'' Carter said after Thursday's practice at American Airlines Center. "He’s been putting his work in trying to get back just to get into
playing like he wants to play.
"In my opinion, I don’t think he’s worried about that.''
Nowitzki has been a part of All-Star Weekend every year they've had it since he entered the NBA in 1998.
Due to the lockout, the NBA didn't have an All-Star Weekend during Nowitzki's rookie season (1998'99). However, Nowitzki participated in the Three-Point Shootout during the 1999-'00 and '00-'01 seasons, and was a member of the Western Conference All-Star team the past 11 seasons.
Nowitzki also participated in the Three-Point Shootout in 2006 and 2008, and won that event when All-Star Weekend was held in Houston in '06.
But Nowitzki was not voted in this year by the fans, and was not one of the seven reserves voted in by the coaches. The starters were announced last week and the reserves were announced Thursday.
Nowitzki missed this season's first 27 games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Oct. 19. Getting back up to par, Carter believes, is what is more important to Nowitzki.
"I think he’s just trying to kind of get himself geared up for that second part of the season,'' Carter said. "So we have to get there first.''
-- Dwain Price
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