He had arthroscopic surgery in late October and is still recovering, but Nowitzki mentioned that he is aiming for a mid-December return. If that is the case then he should be back in a few more weeks and I’m predicting he’ll be back around Christmas time.
Either way, the question that remains is: Will he be ready to play when he does return? Even when he does return to the team it’s not like he is going to turn the Mavericks around right away; it’s going to take some time before he gets his “legs” back.
However, it may not take too long for him to get his game back because of O.J. Mayo.
Through 17 games this season, the one player who has been consistent for Dallas is Mayo. He’s averaging 20.2 points per game and has been unstoppable from behind the arc at 52.7%, making him a top shooter from the three point line.
In my opinion, Mayo looks like he is going to be way better than Jason Terry ever was when he was on this team, which is why the Mavs signed him as Terry’s replacement. It looks like it has worked out very well for Dallas thus far.
Now how can Mayo help Nowitzki get his game back quicker?
If Mayo keeps playing like he has through the first part of this season, Nowitzki does not have to worry about putting the team on his shoulders anymore. Not only that, but the Mavs could have someone who could carry the reigns after Nowitzki retires. Mayo is playing like an All-Star right now and he’s the only reason the Mavs have eight wins. If Mayo was not playing at an All-Star level then the Mavs could easily be 0-17.
Now when Nowitzki does have his legs back then it might get a little interesting in the Southwest Division. If he returns to superstar level and Mayo continues playing like an All-Star, then there’s no telling how well this Mavs team will do.
This could be the first time in Nowitzki’s career that he’s actually a “sidekick.” Nowitzki has said that he plans on playing a few more years and Mark Cuban doesn’t want to get rid of him, so Mayo could be the answer in adding another ring or two to Nowitzki’s collection.
Also, if Nowitzki and Mayo can turn the team into a Western Conference contender once again then it could lure other key free agents to Dallas next off-season. However, Mavericks fans shouldn’t get ahead of themselves. Let’s wait and see how the future Hall of Famer and potential All-Star play together before we jump to any crazy conclusions.