DALLAS – When Dirk Nowitzki underwent arthroscopic surgery to his right knee on Oct. 19, 2012, he wound up missing the first 27 games of the 2012-’13 season.
The Dallas Mavericks didn’t rush their superstar power forward back to the court, because they wanted their franchise player available for the long run and not hopping in and out of the lineup due to a recurring problem with his knee.
Thus, Nowitzki understands the same treatment will be afforded Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons.
Matthews had surgery on Mar. 11 to repair his left torn Achilles, while Parsons underwent a hybrid microfracture surgery to correct cartilage damage in his right knee on May 1.
The Mavs still aren’t sure if either player will be available when they open the regular season on Oct. 28 in Phoenix. But the rush isn’t on to rush either player onto the court.
And Nowitzki certainly understands that.
"Obviously, Parsons and Wes are both guys that want to be here for a lot of long years," Nowitzki said following Friday’s practice at American Airlines Center. "So it would be wrong to push them now in October and not have them later on in the season.
"So you want to take it slow, progress from week to week and whenever they’re ready, they’re ready."
A source said Parsons will more than likely return to action before Matthews. However, their timetables are within shouting distance of each other.
"They’re both on a similar path," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Their situations are slightly different, but their timetables aren’t far apart if at all."
In the interim, the Mavs still have to put some players on the court to fill the void by the absence of Parsons and Matthews.
Nowitzki, who missed the first two preseason games in order to get some much-needed rest, said he won’t play in Tuesday’s preseason game in Tulsa, Okla., when the Mavs take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"I’m probably just going to raise (the conditioning) up, raise it up until next week and play some games," Nowitzki said. "I’m not even sure what the scheduled is after (Tuesday).
"I’ll just come in here and do as the trainers and conditioning coaches tell me what they think is best to get me ready for the season opener."
Nowitzki’s biggest fear is that the litany of injuries the Mavs are contending with – seven players are now nursing various injuries – will linger into the regular season.
"Honestly, if we started the season two weeks ago you’d wish more guys would already be doing more," Nowitzki said. "At least more contact in practice, or running more.
"But hey, that’s not the case. Some of these guys had major surgery and whatever the doc or (head athletic trainer) Casey (Smith) tells them, you’ve got to take it slow."
Nowitzki should know. He’s been there, done that.