Report: Dirk Nowitzki doing drills, could return next week

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The Dallas Mavericks are off to a stumbling 2-6 start this season, with the main culprit being a bottom five offense. Not so coincidentally, Dirk Nowitzki has played in only three games — and wasn’t his vintage self in the ones where he did get on the court — because of a sore Achilles that he strained in the season opener.

On that front there is good news for Dallas fans — Nowitzki is moving closer to a return. He could play next week, reports Marc Stein of ESPN (you know, the network that doesn’t do enough Mavs coverage).

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, recovering from a strained right Achilles, told ESPN.com on Thursday that he has begun to resume on-court work as he moves toward a return to the lineup.

But Nowitzki stressed that, as much as he wants to play in Dallas’ two-game swing on the East Coast next week, he’ll need to get through a full-speed practice or two this weekend with no setbacks before he’s cleared to play.

“It’s definitely better, but I really haven’t done much yet,” Nowitzki told ESPN.com.

Dallas is not going to rush its biggest star back to the court if he’s not 100 percent, especially when the only real treatment for a sore Achilles is rest.

Harrison Barnes has played well in his expanded role, averaging 22.6 points per game, but the Mavs need more scoring options on the floor. Nowitzki certainly is that.