Dirk Nowitzki might opt for knee surgery

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki has seen this movie before. And the Dallas Mavericks' perennial All-Star is hoping for a similar positive ending.

During the lockout-shortened season last year, Nowitzki was experiencing swelling and soreness in his right knee. The situation got so bad that coach Rick Carlisle sat Nowitzki for four games so he could strengthen his knee and get things rectified.

Fast forward to today, and the Mavs must be in déjà vu mode after Nowitzki had to sit out Tuesday's preseason game in Barcelona, Spain, because of swelling and soreness in his right knee. Whether Nowitzki will have to sit an inordinate amount of time again this season in order to get the situation stable has yet to be determined.

Nowitzki said he might even consider undergoing minor arthroscopic surgery to alleviate the situation.

"I think last year I dealt with it and we did some treatment twice, and after that the swelling didn't come back for the rest of the season," Nowitzki said. "I'm hoping the same for this year.

"Just the body has got to get used to all the running and jumping again, and hopefully it'll respond here in the next week or so and then I'll play throughout the whole season. But we kind of have to wait [and see] how it's going to respond next week."

The Mavs, of course, are holding out hope that Nowitzki's injury is no more serious than it was last year when he bounced back to earn his 11th consecutive All-Star Game appearance after a sluggish start.

"Well, we're monitoring it very closely," Carlisle said. We'll proceed as we feel we need to. Beyond that, I can't really comment on it.

"I mean, he's got right knee swelling and we decided not to play him [against FC Barcelona Regal]. So that's where it's at."

The knee problems Nowitzki experienced last year led to him averaging only 21.6 points and 33.5 minutes per game. It was his lowest scoring output since he averaged 17.5 points in his second season, and it was his fewest average minutes since 20.4 as a rookie.

But unlike last summer when he went a long time without picking up a basketball, Nowitzki said he and his coach in Germany, Holger Geschwindner, worked on his conditioning this past summer.

"Well, the good thing, or the different thing this year is that my legs are actually pretty strong," Nowitzki said. "I lifted all through the summer, so hopefully this is just a temporary thing that I've got to deal with.

"You know, actually I'm training with Holger the last four weeks before I came over [and the knee] was fine -- no swelling at all. But I guess you can't simulate practice and the first couple of games and scrimmages and stuff."

Nowitzki, 34, has put tons of miles on his body since he broke into the NBA in 1998. That's why the Mavs tried to lure a top-flight free agent and take the burden off Dirk.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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