DALLAS -- He went through some of the same drills this past summer as he did in the summer of 2012. But this time, Dirk Nowitzki is hoping for some completely different results.
Last year Nowitzki went through his customary workout routines in preparation for another season as the suiperstar forward for the Dallas Mavericks. But before the Mavs could get to their first preseason game on Oct. 6 in Berlin, Germany, Nowitzki knew his right knee wasn't right.
"I was training in Germany and I was training here last summer and I felt good going into camp,'' Nowitzki said Monday during Media Day at American Airlines Center. "So the first couple of days the knee flared up.''
In his native land of Germany, Nowitzki was able to play 34 minutes, was 3-of-9 from the field and collected eight points and five rebounds as the Mavs nipped Alba Berlin, 89-84. However, he didn't play in the Oct. 9 preseason game in Barcelona.
Then came the wait. . .and wait. . .and wait, until the Mavs finally announced that Nowitzki would have surgery on his right knee, which he did on Oct. 19. The injury and surgery forced Nowitzki to miss the season's first 27 games -- he also later missed two other games -- as the Mavs' season was practically doomed before it could get started without their star player.
"I put a lot of work in last summer -- I lifted,'' Nowitzki said. "It's just kind of a freaky thing in Barcelona.
"Even before we went to Barcelona in that Euro trip, the first couple of two-a-days my knees started to swell up. But I had no indication before that.''
After going through a similar workout regiment this past summer, Nowitzki is hopeful for better results this season.
"I did a lot of work again this summer, hopefully the body will respond right the first couple of days in camp and I can stay healthy and go from there,'' he said. "I definitely felt like after the knee surgery I had a tough time getting going last year.
"It was a disappointing year even though it got a lot better after the All-Star break. But I still wanted to put in a lot of work this summer to put myself in position to make strong moves again to go to the basket some.''
Although he wound up averaging a team-high 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season, Nowitzki knew his game had declined some. And he knows why.
"I think last year I was a little bit of a spot-up shooter more because I didn’t really feel like I had a little pop going to the basket,'' Nowitzki said. "So I put in a lot of work and hopefully it's going to pay off.''
Coach Rick Carlisle also hopes Nowitzki can avoid the perils that grounded him for over a third of last season.
"He’s had a phenomenally conscientious summer with his workouts,'' Carlisle said. "Its kind of continuing rehab from last year’s knee situation, and he’s doing great.
"He’s been doing great, really, all summer. He just continues to build momentum.''
That momentum for Nowitzki will be put to the test when the Mavs open training camp Tuesday.
"From here we've got to take him through training camp and get him ready for the season,'' Carlisle said. "There’s never any guarantees with health.
"But he's done everything that you can do to put yourself in position to have a good year.''
-- Dwain Price
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