Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki will start his NBA record 21st season with the team on the sidelines as he battles a lingering ankle injury.
Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle told the media Friday that Nowitzki, who turned 40 in June, would miss “multiple weeks” due to a prolonged recovery from a surgery in April to remove bone spurs from his ankle.
The team doesn’t have a clear picture of when Nowitzki will return to the lineup.
“No clarity. It’s going to be weeks,” Carlisle said. “There’s no real soft or hard day.”
Nowitzki said he suffered a setback about a week before training camp, according to the Associated Press. He hasn’t practiced during the preseason.
“He’s doing better but has not done any significant court work,” Carlisle said Friday. He said he might have an update on the 13-time All-Star’s status in 10 days or so, but that Dirk wouldn't play for "at least a couple weeks."
Nowitzki was inactive for the final four games of the 2017-18 season with the ankle injury.
Carlisle said the availability of Harrison Barnes for the season opener Wednesday in Phoenix is also up in the air. Barnes suffered a hamstring strain last month.
The 6-foot-8 forward wouldn’t see the floor in game action until he logged significant practice time, Carlisle told reporters earlier this week. That hadn’t happened as of Friday.