NBA AM: Surgery Looming For Dirk?
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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The right knee of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has been problematic for him this preseason. He’s battling persistent swelling that could be fixed with arthroscopic knee surgery, but that would keep him out anywhere from three-to-six weeks.
“I’m doing everything I can not to have surgery,” Nowitzki said after the Mavericks’ 123-104 victory on Monday night. “I guess that’s obvious that I really don’t want it done now. If I want to do it, I would love to do it after the season, get through the season somehow, but the swelling came back three or four times now. That’s obviously not good news.
“If it’s going to keep swelling up on me, that’s obviously not a way to go throughout an 82-game season and hopefully a long playoff run.”
The plan for now is for Nowitzki’s workload to be reduced over the next week with lots of icing and cautious conditioning.
“We’re going to see if it gets any better these next couple of days before we do another decision,” Nowitzki said. “That’s really the only update we’ve got. There’s a little swelling in there. It makes no sense at this point of the preseason to play on a swollen knee, so we decided to see what’s going to happen here in the next couple of days.”
While Nowitkzi’s hesitancy to go under the knife is easy to understand, the Mavericks aren’t really in a position where they can afford for him to be ailing all season long. With all the changes made to his surrounding cast, they are going to rely on him just as much as they ever have, maybe more.
If being without him for the first five-to-six weeks of the regular season is the price they have to pay to have him to be completely healthy the rest of the year, it would be well worth it. If Nowitzki were to get surgery on Oct. 23, a week from today, a maximum recovery time of six weeks would have him back sometime in early December. That would keep him out roughly 20 games.
The early portion of the Mavericks schedule is fairly balanced with road games and home games. Despite how tough the Western Conference is and how important Nowitzki is to the Mavericks, 60 games should be enough for them to make up any ground they lose in the playoff race during his absence.
This could also turn into a blessing in disguise for Nowitzki’s teammates, as playing without him will force them to step up and not get used to relying on or being bailed out by him. The Mavericks aren’t going to have the level of success they want by just riding Nowitzki, he’s going to need help from the likes of Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman and the rest of the team. The more confident and capable they are, the better the Mavericks’ chances of contending in the West are.
Of course, it all comes down to what the Mavericks’ physicians feel is the right choice. If they feel he can last through a tolling NBA season, then he should pass. However, if they feel the operation is in his best interest, by no means is it a blow he and the Mavericks can’t recover from. In fact, it could be one that makes them better down the line as a result.
Up Close With Andre Iguodala: The Denver Nuggets are widely regarded as the scariest dark horse in the Western Conference. They may just be on the outside looking in on the true contender class that consists of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, but those teams know that the Nuggets won’t be an easy out. HOOPSWORLD recently caught up with the Nuggets’ newest addition Andre Iguodala. Iguodala’s arrival is one of the main reasons optimism is so high in Denver. We talked to him about his conditioning after a long summer both mentally and physically, how he’s transitioning to being a Nugget and more in this exclusive video interview.
Williams, Price Clash in Brooklyn Opener: The Brooklyn Nets played their first game in the Barclays Center on Monday night. While most preseason games are virtually meaningless, this one was more significant than most since it was the Nets’ debut in their new home. They earned the victory, topping the Washington Wizards, 98-88. Late in the contest Wizards backup point guard A.J. Price, a native of Amityville LI., picked up a flagrant foul while trying to prevent Williams from converting a layup after a turnover.
The excessive contact led to a shoving match between the two and double technical fouls being called. Price reportedly kept telling Williams, ‘I’m home.’
“I hate when people just start talking for no reason,” Williams said afterwards. “That’s pretty much what he did. Maybe he had some boys in the crowd he wanted to impress while he can with the little minutes he’s going to have this year.
“’It’s my home now.’ I told him that.”
Price was much less combative when talking about the incident during postgame.
“Miscommunication,” Price said. “In the heat of the moment, guys say things all the time and one thing led to another, but all in all, it’s part of the game.”
Due to the difference in stature between the two players, this is unlikely to be a battle that lives past Monday night. While Price may be from nearby, Williams, fresh off signing a $98 million contract with the Nets, is undeniably the new local favorite.
Sixers Provide Official Update On Bynum: Injuries have been a concern with Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum ever since he went down with a knee injury in 2007. He was supposed to be back later that season, but wasn’t able to recover despite the Lakers playing into June. His luck with injuries didn’t improve until last season, when he played in 60 of 66 games and finally stayed healthy until the end of the year. From 2007-2011, though, he missed a total of 124 games. So, injuries remain a legitimate fear with him. He’s going to miss all of his first preseason with the 76ers due to right knee issues, but they’re doing all they can to keep everyone informed and dismiss rumors that he will be out for any sizable portion of the regular season. Adam Aron, the team’s CEO and co-owner, tweeted out the following Monday night to clear up any misconceptions:
- Did not have surgery in Germany, had injections. 2 Will not have surgery next week, routine injection every year.
- While conditioning in Sept, unrelated to German procedure, he got a bone bruise which we transparently announced.
- If all goes to plan, he’s back Oct 24. But, we won’t know how the knee feels for sure until, no surprise, Oct 24.
- From there, he has to get into game shape. That is everything the Sixers know. The rest of the loose talk is guessing.
- So, relax everybody. We have ourselves a great talent in Andrew Bynum. Going to be very exciting to watch him play.