It’s virtually been a good news, bad news week for Dirk Nowitzki.
For starters, the Dallas Mavericks’ all-time leading scorer missed the last three-and-a-half games while dealing with soreness in his right Achilles. And being unable to play has aggravated the 19-year veteran to no end.
On the flip side, Nowitzki’s wife, Jessica, gave birth to the couple’s third child – and second son – on Friday. Morris Nowitzki was 20-and-a-half inches long and weighed seven pounds and nine ounces at birth.
“Things went well, wife is doing good, baby is doing good, so that’s good news,” Nowitzki said. “He looks just like the other two, so it’s a blessing for sure.
“Every healthy child is a blessing in a way. We’re enjoying it, but hopefully I’m looking forward to getting out on the court soon.”
The Mavs (2-6) are looking forward to their 13-time All-Star being back on the court. But they just don’t know if Nowitzki will be ready to play in Monday’s game in New York against the Knicks, or in Wednesday’s game in Boston against the Celtics.
“Dirk went through a good portion [of Saturday’s practice], but he’ll be a game-time decision pretty much,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We won’t know anything until Monday – probably before the game – but relatively speaking he’s doing better.”
The same can’t be said for point guard Deron Williams, who sat out the last three games with a strained left calf.
“D-Will is going to be out for New York and most likely Boston,” Carlisle said. “And then we’ll maybe have an update Friday.”
Nowitzki, 38, may not be able to play until the Mavs host Memphis on Friday. But that’s still to be determined.
“Obviously we all know I’d love to play next week eventually in some of these games,” Nowitzki said. “Two of my favorite road arenas coming up here, and it’ll really hurt to miss those.
“So we’re taking it sort of slow and revving it back up and just see how it feels the next couple of days. It’s definitely better, otherwise I wouldn’t try to be back out here again.”
Nowitzki felt some discomfort in the first half of the Nov. 4 home game against Portland and then sat out the second half of that game. He stayed behind when the Mavs hit the road to play the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors this past Tuesday and Wednesday.
Casey Smith, the Mavs’ head athletic trainer, took a red-eye flight from the Bay Area back to Dallas on Wednesday night so he could evaluate Nowitzki on Thursday.
“Before [Thursday] I didn’t even step a foot on the court,” Nowitzki said. “This whole time while they were gone, I just did rehab and cardio, [and] I lifted.
“I didn’t step on the court at all, I didn’t do any jumps. And then Wednesday night, Casey took a red-eye home from Golden State and I worked out here Thursday and that was the first day I did anything on the court.”
The Mavs have been vigilant about making sure they cover all bases in hopes of avoiding a setback to their franchise player.
“If we have him it certainly helps,” Carlisle said. “It’s certainly going to help us, but we’ll hope for the best.
“He’s made progress, he’s doing better. But we want to make sure everything stays on the right track.”