Nowitzki joins first scrimmage with teammates since surgery

NBA.com Global on Sep 07, 2018 06:17 AM
Nowitzki joins first scrimmage with teammates since surgery
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 28: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on during the national anthem prior to the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 28, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

The Dallas Mavericks underwent a bit of a roster remodel over the summer, adding rookie Luka Doncic and free-agent center DeAndre Jordan to their mix. Franchise icon and forward Dirk Nowitzki will be back for 2018-19 -- his 21st season with the team -- and appears to be on the mend after offseason ankle surgery.

Nowitzki was shut down in early April to have minor surgery on his left ankle. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports that Nowitzki has gone through scrimmage with his teammates as the team prepares for the opening of training camp on Sept. 21.

With training camp fast approaching, the Mavericks got great news Wednesday when franchise icon Dirk Nowitzki scrimmaged with some of his teammates for the first time since having ankle surgery in April.

Nowitzki has gone through a long, slow rehabilitation from the April 5 procedure. Coach Rick Carlisle said the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history should be available for training camp, which opens Sept. 21.

Carlisle was asked whether Nowitzki will be operating as a sixth man when his 21st season begins Oct. 17.

"I don't want to get into lineup stuff right now, but his rehab from the surgery is ongoing," he said. "He's doing better. He played pick-up today for the first time. He's on track to fully participate in training camp, as far as I understand.

"But this is a vintage automobile that has to be cared for a certain way. And we're going to always err on the side of extreme care with him."

Sefko reports numerous Mavs have returned to Dallas in recent days, with Doncic and veteran guard J.J. Barea were among those to participate in the scrimmage.

The Mavs re-signed the 13-time All-Star this summer after they declined a team option on his contract at the start of free agency to create more salary cap room to add Jordan.

The 40-year-old forward averaged 12.0 points (on 40.9 percent shooting from 3-point), 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists during 77 games this season -- his 20th in the NBA. The 12-time All-Star sits 232 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for No. 5 on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Nowitzki is set to become the first player in NBA history to play 21 consecutive seasons for the same franchise. The 7-foot German is one of six players overall, and the only international player, with more than 30,000 career points.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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