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Tuesday, November 16, 2010
More on Dirk Nowitzki and his bionic ankles

By Marc Stein

It would be an exaggeration to say that Dirk Nowitzki has all of his mobility back after last week's sprained right ankle in Memphis.

There was time or two in Monday night's victory over New Orleans, even as he was assembling a 25-and-10 performance that included a huge game-tying 3 late in regulation, that Nowitzki's movement did look somewhat labored.

Yet it's virtually common knowledge around here than no one in the NBA knows how to manage an ankle problem quite like Nowitzki. This latest sprain didn't cost him a single game, meaning that Nowitzki's nine career sprains have sidelined him for just 16 games total.

Thanks to the thorough list compiled by Dave Keeney, trusty associate producer on Mavs TV broadcasts, we're also reminded that a player famed for his ability to rebound from ankle injuries had actually avoided them entirely since March 2008. That’s when Nowitzki arguably suffered the worst of them – an unforgettable high ankle sprain against San Antonio – although he recovered faster than expected that time as well and wound up missing only four games.

As Nowitzki explained after Friday’s win over Philadelphia: “I don’t think there’s much ligament and bones left in there. It doesn’t really swell up any more. I actually thought I rolled it pretty good the other night. It was pretty stiff the first minute, but once I actually walked it off in Memphis, I already knew I was coming back. I guess I just rolled it so many times in my career that it hurts for a couple of minutes, then I’m able to walk it off.”