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Nowitzki practices with Mavs for first time since surgery

Dec 19, 2012, 2:51 PM EDT

BKB-GER-US-ALBA-MAVERICKS AP

The Mavericks could be about to get the only thing they really wanted for Christmas this year — Dirk Nowitzki back.

The German scoring machine practiced with the team Wednesday for the first time since his knee surgery to clean out debris during the preseason, reports ESPNDallas.com.

Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki participated in a full practice Wednesday for the first time since undergoing preseason arthroscopic knee surgery.

The Mavs have not set a timetable for Nowitzki to play in games, but he is listed as out for Thursday night’s meeting with the Heat.

Nowitzki had kept pushing back his timeline, at one point saying mid-December then saying that was not the case. But it may not be much later than that if he is practicing now.

Amazingly, the Mavericks offense — fueled by O.J. Mayo and some very hot three point shooting from him — is almost a point per 100 possessions better this season than last. That despite Nowitzki being out, Jason Terry going to Boston and other lineup changes.

The offense has been good enough to keep Dallas around .500 (12-13) and if they get Nowitzki back it should improve. And suddenly Dallas starts to look like a playoff team, or at least one fighting for a spot in a deep Western Conference. It’s going to be rough in the bottom of the West this season with the Jazz, Nuggets, Lakers, Timberwolves and Rockets all clawing for three spots.

Dallas needs Nowitzki back for that. And the sooner the better.

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