DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was walking without a noticeable limp Tuesday, just four days after he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
It’s the first time that the 34-year-old Nowitzki has faced surgery of this type. So was he scared?
"I'm a grown man," Nowitzki said. "I don't get scared much, but a knee situation is new for me. I've always had ankle problems -- basically when I first got in the league, so I knew how to deal with it. I'd roll my ankle bad, shake it off and keep playing."
Nowitzki said when he started his off-season conditioning program, there was no indication that he would be facing surgery right before the start of the regular season. At the time, he claims there was no swelling in his knee.
"There were questions, 'Why didn't you do it in the summer or earlier?'" Nowitzki said. "I think there was no indication that it needed to be done. I had no problem all summer."
The last time Nowitzki played was during an exhibition game in Germany. It means for the first time in his career, Nowitzki will miss the season opener next Tuesday. His timetable to return is still open.
"Well you know, a timetable at this point is pretty ridiculous to talk about," Nowitzki said. "Anytime you have surgery on the knee, there is going to be swelling afterwards, and it’s just hard to say right now when the swelling is going to be gone."
The Mavericks are a different team when Nowitzki is not on the floor, and with eight new players this season, his time away becomes even more critical.
Against the Hornets on Monday, they were out rebounded 60 to 42.
"When Dirk's in the game, it seems like everyone is getting easier shots, because the defense is so focused on him," said Mavs guard Darren Collison. "It just means we've got to work a little bit harder."
"Well, we haven't had him for two weeks, so we're kind of getting used to, unfortunately," said Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle.
It may be six weeks before he returns.
"It’s not bad, considering it’s the first knee procedure I've done in my career," Nowitzki said. "I didn't know what to expect, but a scope is one of the most minor knee surgeries you can have. I was walking around the house a little bit already over the weekend. I'm trying to do some exercises already, so I’m actually encouraged."