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Tuesday, May 27
Updated: May 28, 12:36 PM ET
 
Nowitzki not yet ready to return for Mavs

Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO -- Dirk Nowitzki's knee was not feeling any better Tuesday, keeping him out of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals as the Dallas Mavericks tried to avoid elimination.

Nowitzki sprained ligaments in his left knee late in Game 3 and has not played since. Dallas trailed the San Antonio Spurs 3-1 in the best-of-seven series entering Tuesday night's game.

Mavs coach Don Nelson said Nowitzki's condition had regressed. Nelson told ESPN Radio on Wednesday that Nowitzki is doubtful for the rest of the series.

On Sunday, Nowitzki received treatment right until game time in hopes of playing. A day later, the knee was still so sore than he decided to sit rather than stand through his interviews.

"The injury is about the same, certainly better than it was immediately after he hurt it on the court,'' Mavs team physician Dr. T.O. Souryal said. "The risk of re-injury is never zero, and our decisions always revolve around a risk-reward basis.''

Shawn Bradley (sprained right knee) and Evan Eschmeyer (sore right knee) also missed Game 5, leaving the Mavs with only nine players in uniform.

Nelson was expected to go with the same starting lineup he used in Game 4: Michael Finley, Steve Nash, Nick Van Exel, Raef LaFrentz and Walt Williams.

Souryal said the prognosis for recovery remains the same, meaning there was still a possibility Nowitzki could return for Game 6 and/or Game 7.

"The team dodged a bullet. A few more degrees and he would have torn his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or his MCL (medial collateral ligament). Then we'd be talking about a different story,'' Souryal said.
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