Record-setting Nowitzki concedes he's short of fitness

Jose Verdugo
Diciembre 16, 2018

The big man appeared in his record-breaking 21st season with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, but it was not enough to lift the Mavs over the Phoenix Suns in a 99-89 loss, dropping Dallas to 15-12.

Dirk Nowitzki admits he needs to get up to speed after making National Basketball Association history against the Phoenix Suns.

It's Nowitzki's 21st season in the National Basketball Association, which is a record for seasons with the same team.

"All things considered he did fine, did well", Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. It's going to be a process for me playing against National Basketball Association players, (especially) the speed of the game these days. He breaks Kobe Bryant's record with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nowitzki had surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle last April, and the timing was to make sure he would be ready at the start of this season. "I respect the hell out of him for what he has done to get back on the floor".

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In an era where centers and power forwards are taking 3-pointers more than ever, Nowitzki was ahead of his time and is perhaps the greatest global player the National Basketball Association has ever seen. He was experiencing tendon soreness before the start of training camp in September, which forced him to push his timeline back.

For the first time in his career, Nowitzki is expected to come off the bench this season. He has a career average of 21.2 points per game but averaged just 12.0 points last season.

Although the best player in franchise history has been sidelined for the first few months of the season, the Mavericks are rolling behind their newest European import, Luka Doncic.

"Rhythm will be tough", Nowitzki said recently about his pending return to the lineup.

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