OAKLAND -- Dirk Nowitzki was closing in on being 100 percent for the first time this season. But now the Dallas Mavericks power forward doesn't know when he'll be able to play basketball again.
Nowitzki strained his right adductor -- an upper leg muscle -- in the fourth period of this past Tuesday's game at Portland. The injury didn't prevent the 11-time All-Star from finishing the game against the Trail Blazers, but it did keep him out of Thursday's contest against the Golden State Warriors.
It also will prevent Nowitzki from playing in tonight's 8 o'clock game in Phoenix against the Suns. However, Nowitzki isn't sure if he'll be able to play in Monday's final game of this four-game road trip in Oklahoma City.
The 14-year veteran also added that he doesn't believe the injury has anything to do with the arthroscopic right knee surgery he underwent on Oct. 19 that sidelined him for this season's first 27 games.
"I made a move or a turn -- I remember it was a couple of minutes left in Portland,'' Nowitzki said. "I don't think it has anything to do with the knee, the knee has been fine, it's been responding fine, it hasn't been swelling at all.
"I guess it's just Father Time, bro'. Stuff happens. I've never pulled a muscle my whole career, so I guess there's always a first one.''
Nowitzki's absence is a huge blow for the Mavs, who went on to lose to the Warriors, 100-97.
Coach Rick Carlisle echoed Nowitzki's sentiment, saying its doubtful his superstar will be able to play Friday against the Suns.
“It’s possible, but doubtful,’’ Carlisle said. “That’s my opinion.
“We’re not going to risk anything right now.’’
The latest injury by Nowitzki couldn't come at a worst time for the Mavs, who have dropped three of their past four games and are toting a woeful 19-27 record. Nowitzki just hopes he's not shelved for a long period of time.
“I felt a little pull in the fourth quarter of the Portland game and I told the trainers already during the game about it,’’ Nowitzki said. “After the game it was already pretty sore and the other night I was hobbling and (Wednesday) was not very good, but the meds actually kicked in pretty nicely so actually I gave it shot before the game, but I just really couldn’t get loose.
“Pushing up sideways and making a hard move, it was just bothering me. So I didn’t really want to risk anything and we’ll see how it responds the next 24 hours.’’
Despite his situation, Nowitzki was able to crack a joke about it, as he referred to recent news that some athletes are using deer antler spray to enhance their performances.
Asked if would be able to play any of the final two games on this road trip, Nowitzki drew laughter when he said: "I like this deer antler thing. I don't know if 24 hours would change much.
"Obviously we've got a tough back-to-back and obviously I'm on anti-inflammatories, so we'll see. We'll see what happens (tonight) and see if I even try to go. But hopefully Monday -- we'll see how it responds this weekend.''
-- Dwain Price
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