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Why didn't Dirk Nowitzki get surgery sooner?

DALLAS – It’s not like Dirk Nowitzki wanted to wait until a week and a half before the season opener to get his knee scoped.

His hope was to wait until after the season ended. Or, better yet, to never get it done.

However, those weren’t realistic options after the swelling in his right knee popped up in the first week of training camp and kept returning. It came as a surprise to Nowitzki and the Mavs’ medical staff despite his issues with the knee early last season, when he has acknowledged that he wasn’t conditioned as well as normal following the abrupt end of the lockout.

“There was a question of, ‘Why didn’t you do it in the summer earlier?’” said Nowitzki, who increased his offseason, lower-body weight training in an attempt to avoid knee problems. “I think there was no indication that it needed to be done. I had no problem all summer.”

When the swelling started again, Nowitzki hoped it was a temporary problem, or at least an issue he could work through until the end of the season.

“I hate missing time, first of all,” Nowitzki said. “So it’s not that I was afraid of the surgery or I was scared. It’s more that I wanted to play, I wanted to be there, especially with all these new guys. I want to be obviously a part of the start of the season. Now, that’s out of the question, but I think it was the right moment to do it.”

The alternative would have been to fight through the swelling and soreness all season. Considering Nowitzki’s struggles when his knee bothered him early last season, it made sense just to get the knee scoped.

“Obviously, I took some heat for the timing of it,” Nowitzki said. “But if I would have fought through it this whole season – swelling off and on, having it drained here and there – I think it’s a bad situation for all involved.”