- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki feels like he’s just about ready to start the regular season.
Here comes longtime coach and mentor Holger Geschwindner to help with the finishing touches.
"Unfortunately, it's going to be some late nights in here," Nowitzki said with a laugh after scoring 17 points in the Dallas Mavericks’ preseason win Wednesday night over a bunch of Atlanta Hawks backups.
Geschwindner, the Wurzburg, Germany, resident who was been working with Nowitzki since he was a raw, skinny, floppy-haired teenager, is scheduled to arrive from their homeland Thursday. He’ll stay through the first couple of weeks of the regular season, putting his Hall of Fame pupil through nightly practice sessions that have become the stuff of legend throughout the course of Nowitzki's career.
"He might give me a night off here or there," said Nowitzki, 35, who is entering his 16th NBA season. "Maybe I'm too old to go back to the gym every night. We'll find a good rhythm."
Geschwindner has eased up at least a little bit on Nowitzki as the big German enters into the golden years of his career.
The workouts aren't nearly as intense and strenuous as they were during the first decade or so of Dirk's NBA tenure. Geschwindner's goal is no longer to develop Nowitzki. It's to help Nowitzki, whose 11-year All-Star streak was snapped last season, maintain his elite form.
"When I was 25, we were doing all sorts of crazy stuff in the gym -- the frog leaps and handstands and all that stuff," Nowitzki said. "We cut that down over the years. Now, it's a lot more shooting, some technique stuff. But all the athletic stuff we used to do, all the old Russian workout we used to mix in, all the Eastern bloc stuff, we cut out over the years."
Physically, Nowitzki feels better than he has in a couple of years. The knee soreness and swelling that bothered him the last two preseasons -- leading to arthroscopic surgery that sidelined him for two months last season -- isn't a factor. He's in phenomenal shape after extending his offseason workout program. He's moving better than he did a year ago.
"Now, it's about getting one more game, probably playing a little bit more minutes, then getting some practice, getting some shots up at night," Nowitzki said. "And then I'll be ready to go."
4dMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon