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Nowitzki plans return mid-December, wants to play to 2016

Nov 20, 2012, 7:13 PM EDT

Dirk Nowitzki AP

When Dirk Nowitzki underwent knee surgery during training camp, he was expected to be out until December, but Mavericks officials were hopeful he could be back closer to Thanksgiving.

Turns out the original timeline was even a little optimistic.

Nowitzki spoke with the media Tuesday and said it would be close to a month, mid-December before he suits up to play in a Mavs game. He once again said rehab is not going as fast as he hoped, and he wants to be fully healthy before he returns.

The reason he is taking his time is he wants to play through 2016. All this from the Dallas Morning News.

“Well, unfortunately not as soon as we all hoped, I think,” Nowitzki said when asked when he might return to the court.

“I think originally when the last statement we put out was it’s going to take six weeks before I do any basketball activity. Unfortunately, I tried, but I couldn’t cut the time down….

“Saying all that, I think I’m still about two weeks out before even getting on the court and start working out, start running, start shooting,” he said. “That would put me right at six weeks before I get on the court. By that point, I’m assuming I need a good week or two to get in halfway decent playing shape running and shooting and doing all sorts of stuff.”

As for taking it slow to make sure he is fully healed.

“I’m hoping maybe after these two years (of his current contract) to play a couple more years. So it would be the wrong thing now to push it and come back too early and maybe make something worse for the long term.”

Dallas is 6-6 without Nowtizki on the season.

Some injuries heal faster than others (don’t ask Sixers fans about that right now) and Nowitzki is right to take his time and make sure he is healed before stepping on the court. The Mavericks are working hard to rebuild a contender, they have cap space the next couple years and the chance to play and win with Nowitzki is one of the draws.

So Nowitzki and the Mavericks are doing the right thing. As frustrating as that may be right now to Mavs fans.

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