Rather than wait and hope it heals like it did last season, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are being proactive.
Nowitzki underwent arthroscopic surgery to his right knee Friday morning and will be out for about six weeks, the team announced Friday. That timeframe has him returning around the start of December. That would have him missing around 16 games.
This is the smart move — better to deal with it now than let everything linger. Nowitzki has been dealing with swelling in his right knee all preseason and had it drained twice. Last season a similar thing happened but Nowtizki took time off, changed his training routine and was able to solve the problem, this time it’s not working.
This is going to hurt the Mavs in the short term, make no mistake. As our own Darius Soriano pointed out, the Mavericks he were 8.8 points per 100 possessions better when Nowitzki was on the floor last season as opposed when he was on the bench. That was not just scoring — Dallas’s defense was 2.8 points per 100 better when Nowitzki was on the floor Stats courtesy the NBA.com stats tool.
No Nowitzki means more of the offensive load in Dallas is going to fall to O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison, who will have to create shots for everyone. Dallas is going to need a lot more out of Brandan Wright.
The challenge for Dallas is not falling so far behind in the playoff chase in a deep Western Conference that they can’t climb back in. Dallas and Minnesota — without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio to start the season — will be playing catch up likely for one of the last couple of playoff spots in the West. The teams who have to take advantage are the Jazz and the Golden State Warriors (who need to get Andrew Bogut back, he may miss the start of the season).