Dirk Nowitzki successfully underwent arthroscopic surgery today on his right knee. He has missed practice and pre-season games the past few weeks due to swelling in his right knee. He is expected to be back in action little over a month from now which means that Nowitzki will miss most of the regular season games in November.
What does this mean for the Dallas Mavericks? It means that coach Rick Carlisle will be able get a look at his other young players and rookies in a regular season game. This means that Dominique Jones, Brandan Wright, Rodrigue Beaubois, Jared Cunningham and Jae Crowder will need to step up in a big way if the Mavs want to have a winning record by the end of November.
This could actually be a great thing for Dallas since the coaching staff and Mark Cuban will get to see how this club will be like when Nowitzki retires possibly in the next few years. I’ve written before that this could be a blessing in disguise. With Nowitzki out for little over a month players like O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman and Elton Brand will need to step up on the offensive end since Nowitzki does bring the team 20-30 points a game. If the new guys that the Mavs brought in step it up and win more than half of the games in November then this club will see that it will not be as hard putting a team together when Nowitzki is no longer with the team.
However, since this is pretty much a brand new team that figured that they would be playing with Nowitzki it may not work quite as well in November. It would be a different story if this happened next off-season since they would have played a year together, but that’s not the case here. These guys haven’t played a regular season game together yet and with Nowitzki out for a month it could mess up the team’s flow.
This team will slowly work out a system during the month of November, but once Nowitzki does return it could actually hurt the team. When he returns the team may lose the flow that they will build in November since they will need to work Nowitzki back into the system. It may be a month for him to recover, but that does not mean that his knee will be 100% back to normal.
Nowitzki is entering his 15th season and at the age of 34 and that knee may not hold him up forever. He is still going to need to slow it down and maybe by January his knee will be close to 100% better. The Mavs and Nowitzki will just need to work it out where he can still produce on the court without making his knee worse.
For Mavs fans, the hope now is that the team will have a decent record by the end of December to work with once Nowitzki knee is at or close to 100%. If it does then there’s not doubt in my mind that the team will be just fine and get their playoff berth as they have for the past twelve years. If his knee keeps him from producing on the court then the Mavs may be fighting for a bottom seed in the post-season. Mavs Nation will just have to hold their breath for a few months and hope that Nowitzki surgery was a good thing.