Dirk Nowitzki Still Weeks Away From Returning

Mavericks big man Dirk Nowitzki is still weeks away from returning to action, head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters today. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com details, that means Nowitzki will miss the start of the season, his 21st with the Mavs.

“It’s going to be multiple weeks, I can tell you that,” Carlisle said. “But there’s no real soft or hard date [for Nowitzki’s return] at this point. He is doing better, but has not done any significant court work. His rehab work is ongoing, and we can update you in another 10 days or something like that.”

Nowitzki, who continues to recover from April ankle surgery, initially hoped to be ready to go to start the 2018/19 season, but suffered a setback last month. He won’t require any additional procedures on that ankle though, according to Carlisle (Twitter link via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News).

After averaging 12.0 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 77 games (24.7 MPG) last season, with a very respectable shooting line of .456/.409/.898, Nowitzki re-signed with the Mavericks in July. The 40-year-old has indicated that he’d like to keep playing as long as he remains healthy and productive, as he was last season. It appears this year is off to a more ominous start in terms of his health, however.

Harrison Barnes‘ availability for the start of the regular season also remains up in the air, according to Carlisle, who said today that Barnes will need to get in some “quality practice time” before Dallas’ opener in order to play in that game.

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