The Dallas Mavericks play their home opener tonight at 7:30 against the Houston Rockets. But they might take the court without their best player.
Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki missed this morning’s shootaround at American Airlines Center with what coach Rick Carlisle described as a "stomach thing.’’ Carlisle didn’t go into detail about Nowitzki’s illness.
"He’s at home, he’s sick,’’ Carlisle said. "We’re hoping that he’s going to be OK to play tonight.’’
The Mavericks entered this season wanting to play Nowitzki between 25-29 minutes per game. But in their 130-121 overtime loss at Indiana on Wednesday, the 13-time All-Star logged a whopping 38 minutes.
And a day after that game, Carlisle said of Nowitzki: "He’s tired.’’
Only six times during the regular season last year did Nowitzki play as many as 38 minutes in a game. And now at the age of 38, the Mavs know they must do a better job of monitoring his minutes.
Nowitzki tallied 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting, grabbed rebounds, and also collected two steals and two blocks against the Pacers.
"He’s like to compete, so when the game gets intense like that he doesn’t want to come out,’’ said guard J. J. Barea, who played 39 minutes against Indiana. "So it’s going to depend on him.’’
Or on the Mavs’ medical staff.
"We think he’s going to be OK to play tonight,’’ Carlisle said Nowitzki. "But that’s where he is today.
"He’s got. . .never mind. I think it’s a stomach thing.’’