While he’s busy fine-tuning his body, Dirk Nowitzki isn’t sure when he’ll make his preseason debut.
The Dallas Mavericks’ 13-time All-Star missed the first two preseason games so he could rest and said he probably won’t play in Saturday’s game in Madison, Wis., against the Milwaukee Bucks. Nowitzki anticipates he’ll play in Tuesday’s home game against Oklahoma City, or on Oct. 14 in Phoenix.
“There’s still 20 days — a long time until the season opener,” Nowitzki said after Thursday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “So there’s no need to jump ahead of myself.”
Nowitzki turned 38 in June, and when asked if he feels like he’s 28 or 38 (his true age), he said he feels like he’s “48 or older.’’
Listening to his body, Nowitzki knows there’s nothing preventing him from playing against the Bucks if this was a regular-season game.
“I think sometimes when I haven’t done much and you start through all the sideways movement and showing the pick-and-roll and stuff, you just get tight, you get sore a little bit,’’ Nowitzki said. “So I’ve been fighting through some soreness in the legs and in the hips.
“I’m usually pretty stiff-legged, but right now even more so. But usually, hopefully a couple more practices as the days go by I’ll be a little better.”
Nowitzki is excited about the off-season additions, including center Andrew Bogut, forwards Harrison Barnes, Quincy Acy and Nicolas Brussino, and guards Seth Curry and Jonathan Gibson. Nowitzki also noted there’s no reason to be alarmed that Barnes was only one of 10 from the field and scored only three points in Monday’s 95-88 win over Charlotte.
“I don’t think I scored in double figures in preseason for years now,” Nowitzki said. “So it’s just all about working through it and getting accustomed to your teammates. We’re not really worried about shooting percentages at this point.”
Nowitzki said he believe Barnes, who signed a four-year, $94 million free-agent contract in July, might have been a victim of trying to impress the hometown crowd.
“It’s preseason, it’s his first home game, he might have had some nerves, your legs are not 100 percent,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t think I scored in double-figures in preseason for years now, so it’s just all about working through it and getting accustomed to your teammates.
“We’re not really worried about shooting percentages at this point. I thought he had some good shots. Actually, I thought the next day in practice he didn’t miss.”
Nowitzki said he’s been practicing more lately and can’t wait to play alongside Barnes and Bogut.
“I feel fine, so it’s a good thing,” Nowitzki said. “I’ll probably take it a little harder as the day goes on and as camp goes on.”