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Mavericks Lose Dirk Nowitzki to Knee Surgery

The Dallas Mavericks have suffered their first loss of the season due to the arthroscopic surgery on the right knee of star Dirk Nowitzki.

Nowitzki, who is 34, will miss at least six weeks rehabbing his knee and the beginning part of the regular season.

Nowitzki sat out the Mavericks’ last three preseason games due to soreness and swelling to his right knee. He wanted to put the surgery off until after the season, but was advised that he needed to have the procedure because of the inflammation he is dealing with now.

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle addressed the media Friday about Nowitzki’s absence for the next six weeks.

“We’ve got to really buckle down,” Carlisle said. “Six weeks is a long time. A week and a half of it is non-season time, so that’s a bit of a plus, but NBA games are hard and we’re going to have to have everybody ready to play. Simple as that.”

With the loss of streaky guard Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics in the offseason, the offensive load will be relegated to newcomers O.J. and Darren Collison.

The 11-time All-Star has had his knee drained twice this month by Mavericks’ medical staff, to have the swelling return days later.  Nowitzki tried to rest and ice his knee, while doing low-impact conditioning work this week.  After seeing no progress in his efforts he decided to have surgery.

Nowitzki spoke to the media Monday after following three consecutive practices and the return of the swelling.

“If it’s going to keep swelling up on me, that’s obviously not a way to go throughout an 82-game season and hopefully long playoff run,” Nowitzki said.

He was first bothered by the knee during last season’s training camp, which caused him to take four games off to focus on his conditioning. Nowitzki went on to average 21.6 point and 6.8 rebounds last year for the defending champions, which was his third worst statistical year since entering the league in 1999. In the 1999 season he averaged 8.2 points and 3.5 rebounds as a rookie.

With the Mavericks tipping the season off against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 30, everybody apart of the team will have to step their level of play up if they do not want to be at the bottom of the standings in the Western Conference.

“It’s never going to be easy to lose a game-changer for six weeks,” Carlisle said. “We know that, but we’re going to have to make up for it in other areas. We’re going to have to play with grit and guts, and we’re going to have to raise our level of efficiency in all areas.”

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