Saturday, May 24
May 25, 6:39 PM ET
Nowitzki out of pivotal Game 4
ESPN.com news services
DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki's knee injury is not as bad as the
Mavericks feared, but Nowitzki did not dress for Sunday's Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs.
An MRI showed a sprain to the ligaments that hold the left
kneecap in place, but there was no other structural damage, the
"With an injury like this the typical recovery time is 10-14
days,'' Mavericks team physician Dr. T.O. Souryal said Saturday.
"However, Dirk is an amazing athlete and with 24-hour treatment
that we have already implemented, we hope he may be able to return
to the court during this series.''
Nowitzki's knee buckled inward when he collided with San
Antonio's Manu Ginobili during the fourth quarter of Game 3 on
Friday night. The Spurs won 96-83 to take a 2-1 lead in the
best-of-seven Western Conference finals.
"Well, it's great news. I think I was lucky,'' Nowitzki said.
"I think it could have been a lot worse after seeing the replay
"Basically what happened last night is that I've never had a
knee injury before and I was just in shock. I had pain and I didn't
know what to do. I couldn't move it. Already last night it started
feeling better, and this morning I could walk around, so it's a lot
better than I thought at first.''
There was other injury news for the Mavs, and it was not good.
A MRI performed on Shawn Bradley's right knee showed a sprained
medial collateral ligament, and the Mavs said he would be out
indefinitely. Also, third-string center Evan Eschmeyer said a loose
piece of cartilage in his left knee will likely prevent him from
playing in the postseason.
That means Dallas might have to go into Game 4 with only nine
players in uniform. Raef LaFrentz, Eduardo Najera and Adrian
Griffin would be the only big men available to defend San Antonio's
Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Malik Rose.
"We're going to put Steve Nash on him one-on-one in the low
post -- see how good Duncan really is, Mr. MVP,'' Nelson joked at
Dallas' practice before the results of Nowitzki's MRI were known.
San Antonio's preferred mode of preparation is almost entirely
"We spend less time getting ready for other teams than any team
I've been on. I was totally the opposite when I was a head coach,''
said P.J. Carlesimo, Popovich's assistant.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.