Hardly anyone expected Dirk Nowitzki to suit up last night in San Antonio, but he did. The rest of the Dallas Mavericks didn’t show up, however, and got smacked by the Spurs to the tune of 129-91. Nowitzki said his surgically-repaired right knee felt fine, and he was happy to be back on the court. Per the Star-Telegram: “As it turned out, Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs ended the long-awaited season debut for Nowitzki, who had arthroscopic right knee surgery on Oct. 19. The 11-time All-Star finished the game, which the Spurs won, 129-91, with eight points, six rebounds and one steal in 20 minutes. ‘I thought I did actually decent out there, and that’s encouraging for me,’ Nowitzki said. ‘I felt like for me getting out there as soon as I can now helps me get my rhythm. It’s probably going to take me a week or two to get my legs and get my wind, and hopefully I can help a little more.’ Last week Nowitzki said he wanted to go through two full contact practices with the Mavs before he played his first game since the preseason opener in Germany against Alba Berlin. But Nowitzki said he worked a lot with the low-minute players in practice on Saturday, and his body felt good, so he discussed Sunday’s return with coach Rick Carlisle and athletic trainer Casey Smith. ‘I did some jumps and some sprints and some stuff, and I don’t think I’m going to get more explosive at age 34,’ Nowitzki said. ‘My legs were a little heavy, but I’ll work my way back to hopefully playing some 30-35 minutes soon, but I’m not at that point yet.’ The Mavs, who are 12-16, certainly welcomed the return of Nowitzki; especially because they are four games under .500 for the first time since they were 3-7 on Nov. 16, 2008 during Carlisle’s first season in Dallas. ‘He felt ready to go,’ Carlisle said of Nowitzki. ‘[He played] good, all things considered.'”
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