Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has missed the team's entire preseason run due to a sore left ankle. The Mavs' regular season starts Oct. 17 against the Phoenix Suns (10:30 ET, ESPN), but Nowitzki will not play in that game or any others for at least a few more weeks.
“It’s going to be multiple weeks, I can tell you that. But there’s no soft or hard date," Carlisle said. "He’s doing better, but has not done any significant court work. We can update you in another 10 days or so.”
Nowitzki had his left ankle surgically repaired in the offseason and took part in some scrimmages with teammates in early September. However, Nowitzki has been dealing with foot and ankle inflammation and has not done any court work since training camp started on Sept. 21.
Rick Carlisle says Dirk Nowitzki is “not playing for at least two weeks.”— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 12, 2018
Rick Carlisle says it will be "multiple weeks" before a Dirk Nowitzki return. Said he must get practice time in first, and that the rehab is ongoing.— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) October 12, 2018
Dirk Nowitzki: “I’ve been called the $5-million mascot already.” He confirmed he’ll miss the opener. No surprise there.— Eddie Sefko (@ESefko) October 11, 2018
The 40-year-old Nowitzki averaged 12.0 points (on 40.9 percent shooting from 3-point), 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists during 77 games this season -- his 20th in the NBA. The 12-time All-Star sits 232 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for No. 5 on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Nowitzki is set to become the first player in NBA history to play 21 consecutive seasons for the same franchise. The 7-foot German is one of six players overall, and the only international player, with more than 30,000 career points.
As the Mavs opened training camp weeks ago, Nowitzki sounded open to taking on a reserve role for the Mavs this season. When, exactly, he'll be on the court again for Dallas seems to be unknown at best.