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Saturday, May 24
Updated: May 25, 6:39 PM ET
Nowitzki out of pivotal Game 4 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 Mavericks said.

"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 last night.

"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 self-centered.

"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.



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• Mavs coach says Nowitzki might be out for series

• Stein: All parties know risking Dirk would be wrong

• Spurs put hurt on Mavs as Dirk damages knee

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