Dirk Nowitzki has apparently overcome his stomach illness and plans to play Wednesday in Utah.
The Dallas Mavericks’ superstar forward missed the past two games — both against the Houston Rockets — while dealing with an illness. He plans on being in the starting lineup when the Mavericks (0-3) face the Utah Jazz (2-2) at 8 p.m. at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
“I feel better,” said Nowitzki, who went through Tuesday’s practice and is also nursing a sore Achilles tendon. “It’s been obviously a rough few days.
“I thought it actually was just a 24-hour thing. I came in on Saturday and actually got a little sweat, and then on Sunday I felt bad again.”
Nowitzki, who scored 22 points last Wednesday in the season opener against Indiana, worked out and was penciled into the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Rockets. But the 13-time All-Star was scratched just before tip-off when he didn’t feel well and watched the game from the team’s locker room.
The Mavericks are hoping such an emergency move won’t be the case against the Jazz.
“It’s a difficult league, so we’ve got to be ready for things like this,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ll have an alternative plan like we have the last couple of games, but it’s a tough situation to be in.
“But if he’s unable to go and or not quite right, we can’t put him in harm’s way.”
While the Mavericks received a thumbs up on Nowitzki’s status, guards Wesley Matthews (foot) and J. J. Barea (knee) missed Tuesday’s practice. But both players are expected to play against Utah.
So what was the trigger for Nowitzki’s illness?
“The (two) kids have been sick,” Nowitzki said. “You know how it is when you have little ones.
“So I guess it’s just a little stomach virus that they had that I got.”
Adamant for not wanting to miss games, Nowitzki also missed the Mavericks’ Halloween party on Monday. The 38-year-old, 19-year veteran had planned on going as a senior citizen — with a cane — but couldn’t justify attending the event after missing the previous two games.
“The guys are already joking in the locker room that I’m only playing once a week from now on for the rest of the year,” Nowitzki said, while laughing. “My goal is to always to be out there and I wanted to be out there for the home opener, and the same in Houston, seeing I could have helped with a few things.
“It’s just frustrating not to go out there. So hopefully I’m going tomorrow.”
The Mavericks sure could have used the franchise’s most productive player against the Rockets. Now they just hope Nowitzki’s illness is totally behind him.
“He’s doing better,” Carlisle said. “He went through practice today.
“We didn’t do a lot of contact stuff, but he went through what we did. He’s feeling better, so hopefully tomorrow he’ll be ready to play, but we’ll have to see tomorrow.”