Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is targeting next month for his season debut, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Nowitzki provided an update today on his condition as he continues rehab work after having surgery on his left ankle in April. “Hopefully somewhere in December, I’ll be ready,” he said, although he hasn’t been able to participate in a full practice since the operation.
Nowitzki saw some action in a “staff game” today, playing against interns and younger members of the coaching staff. “I wasn’t the best player out there, so I have some work to do,” he said.
Nowitzki, who turned 40 over the summer, remained effective last season, playing 77 games and averaging 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per night. He has indicated that this may be his final NBA season, although he hasn’t made a formal announcement.
There’s more injury-related news to pass along:
- Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen continues to make progress in his return from a right elbow injury and could start practicing with contact next week, according to the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Coach Fred Hoiberg said Markkanen has made major improvements with his conditioning. He suffered a high-grade lateral elbow sprain during training camp.
- Hoiberg added that Kris Dunn is ahead of Bobby Portis in recovering from knee injuries that they suffered within days of each other (Twitter link).
- The Raptors are moving closer to using Kawhi Leonard in back-to-back games, coach Nick Nurse told Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun (Twitter link). Nurse added that the team’s strategy with Leonard over the first quarter of the season has been successful, and there have been no problems when he has been asked to play a lot of minutes. “He feels good,” Nurse added of Leonard, who was limited to nine games with the Spurs last season because of a quad injury.
- The Raptors‘ C.J. Miles missed his fifth straight game tonight with a groin strain, but he should be back soon, Wolstat adds (Twitter link).
- Maurice Harkless is returning to the Trail Blazers‘ lineup tonight after missing 13 games with a sore left knee, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian.