NEW ORLEANS _ After watching Dirk Nowitzki struggle from game to game recently, the Dallas Mavericks have decided to sit their franchise player for four games.
The Mavs believe sitting him for four games will help him regain his All-Star form.
Nowitzki was told of the news on Friday.
"They approached me with it [Friday] at the meeting and I wasn't thrilled at the beginning,'' Nowitzki said. "We talked about it [Friday] in the meeting and I just thought it was a good decision for everybody.''
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Officially, the Mavs are saying Nowitzki has a sore right knee. It's the same knee that forced him to miss nine games last season -- the Mavs were 2-7 in that stretch -- before he recovered and eventually became MVP of the NBA Finals.
Scoring just 17.5 points per game, Nowitzki knows his body isn't right.
"I'm not helping right now any way, and I think the guys are better off when I'm not out there,'' he said. "This gives me time to really do some of the stuff that I couldn't be doing because my knee was bothering me the last couple of weeks.
"I couldn't lift and run and do the stuff I needed to do because my knee was swollen most of the time. So this week my knee felt better, and this next week gives me some time to lift and really get back to where it should be.''
In addition to missing Saturday's game against New Orleans, Nowitzki will miss home games against Phoenix, Minnesota and Utah. He isn't expected to return until a Jan. 29 home game against San Antonio.
But Nowitzki won't be sitting back in a rocking chair and resting.
"With Dirk out he's going to be busting his [butt] this week,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're going to be on him hard -- he's got a lot of work to do.
"If things go like we think they'll go, by the end of the week he'll be back ready to play.''
Nowitzki said after the Mavs won the NBA title in June, he really should have rested. Instead, he played in the Olympic qualifying tournament for his home country of Germany.
"I think the whole Euro experience kind of threw my whole summer off,'' Nowitzki said. "But I only had not even a month off after we won it, and I had already started working out again. So once the Euros were done I was so fed up with basketball, I couldn't see it, I couldn't smell, I couldn't go in the gym.''
And now Nowitzki's paying the price.
"I couldn't go by anybody on the dribble, and that's part of my game right now,'' he said. "I was just basically a pop-up shooter every time I caught it."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760