DALLAS – Last Friday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Dirk Nowitzki would probably start practicing this week.
After this morning’s shootaround at American Airlines Center, Rick Carlisle was also hopeful that his 19-year veteran forward would be able to get back on the court at some point this week. But Carlisle added that he didn’t want anyone thinking Nowitzki would start playing in any of the four games the Mavs have on this week’s schedule.
"I think what Mark was telling you was that (Nowitzki’s) activity level is going to be increased this week,’’ Carlisle said. "So we’ll look forward to that and hope that things continue to go the right way and that no further setback happens.
"But we’re a ways away still. He’s still out indefinitely.’’
Nowitzki has only played in five of the Mavs’ 23 games this season because of a strained right Achilles. Without their star player, the Mavs will take the NBA’s worst record (5-18) into tonight’s 7:30 game against the Denver Nuggets at AAC.
The Mavs have been gradually bringing along Nowitzki, who hasn’t played since a Nov. 23 home game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The last thing they want to do is bring him back too fast, and then be forced to sit him again if he has a setback.
"He took a few days of doing very little in terms of on-court activity to let the Achilles heal up (and) feel better,’’ Carlisle said. "He’s ramping up his activity some at the beginning of the week, so we’ll see.
"We certainly hope that he can get back into practice, but I don’t know of any definites. I haven’t talk to Mark about that.’’
Carlisle didn’t want to discuss what it would mean to have Nowitzki back in the fold.
"We’ll talk about it when it happens,’’ Carlisle said. "What’s the point in talking about something that’s being timed by the calendar?
"There’s nothing imminent, there’s no stop watch ticking. Why ramp up the conversation when we’re not really close to having it happen?"