Dallas is going to have to keep struggling along without Dirk Nowitzki for longer than he wanted or expected.
Nowitzki had said he hoped to be back in mid-December, which is about what the timeline for recovery from his knee surgery during training camp suggested could happen.
But it’s not going to happen, Nowitzki told the Dallas Morning News. Rather, he sounds like a guy we likely won’t see on the court until after the Rose Parade and a bunch of bowl games.
“We said from the beginning the only way I could get back on the court was when the swelling is gone and the quad strength is back. And so we got a long way to go.
“Now, it’s already December 5th. I don’t think middle of December is happening now to be honest. That was my goal a couple weeks ago. But the swelling was in there too long and it held me back too long and I couldn’t start working soon enough.”
There are some good signs — Nowitzki was out on the court taking shots, although not running or cutting, and he said they have increased his rehab workload. He says the knee is feeling better. But recovery is a process and even when he can run and cut there are a lot of practices to go through to get back to being ready to play.
It looks more and more like we will not see Nowitzki until 2013.
Without him the Mavericks are 8-10, with a middle of the pack offense and defense. Even coming off knee surgery he should certainly help an offense that has struggled to create good looks and has fallen back to relying on Derek Fisher at the point.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
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