DALLAS -- On his 35th birthday, Vince Carter practiced Thursday and said he is not ruling out a possible return in Friday night's game against the Utah Jazz. As for Dirk Nowitzki, he's not completely ruling in a return on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Nowitzki has missed the last three games and won't play Friday against the Jazz as he continues with a week of off-court work to help strengthen his sore right knee. The original plan for Nowitzki was to miss four games with a return set for Sunday. Nowitzki, who spoke to the media for the first time since the announcement of his hiatus last Saturday, said he's had a good work of week and is progressing, but couldn't be sure that he will be ready for Sunday's game.
Carter sprained his left foot against the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 16 and has missed the last five games. He said he has made surprisingly speedy progress over the last two days. He practiced with the team for the first time and said he will see how he feels after Friday morning's shootaround.
"I just need to play to see if I'm up to speed," Carter said. "I refuse to use excuses if I'm a step slow. You are going to be rusty. It is what it is. If I'm going to come out there I'm going to go out there to play."
Carter is the Mavs' second-leading scorer off the bench behind Jason Terry.
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