Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki Expected to Miss Season Opener with Achilles Injury

Dirk Nowitzki. Photo by BabiradPicture/REX/Shutterstock (8973869c)

Mavericks’ legend Dirk Nowitzki is expected to miss this year’s season opener against the Suns on October 17th with an ankle problem that started last season.

Despite Dallas describing Nowitzki’s Achilles injury as minor, the 40-year-old is yet to join the Mavericks for training, two weeks before the new season commences. The German is currently with the team in Shanghai but he isn’t expected to play as the Mavericks face off the 76ers on Friday in a preseason friendly.

“This is weeks, not days, as far as getting on the court for live action,” Coach Rick Carlisle said on Tuesday. “He is making gradual progress, but we’re not just at a point where we can talk about a hard timeline or anything like that.”

A great player in his prime, Nowitzki averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds last season. His average play-time was 24 minutes. With a total of 31,183 points, the German ranks sixth among the league’s active top scorers.

Nowitzki suffered an injury to his left ankle last season. He opted for surgery in April and began recovery efforts hoping all would be well by July. It was not until media day that the 40-year-old admitted there was doubt he would be opening the season with the rest of the team.

This season will be Nowitzki’s 21st in the league. He debuted in 1998 for the Milwaukee Bucks and led the Mavericks to their first championship in 2011.