Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Mavericks [Print without images]

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Minute Men: Dirk's knee, J-Kidd's shot off

By Jeff Caplan

Our weekly look at how coach Rick Carlisle is managing the minutes of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd during this 66-game schedule:

Well, Dirk Nowitzki let us know that the fewest minutes he's averaged since his rookie season were too many. The 7-footer has sat out the last three games and plans at least one more Friday night. Instead of playing, he's been engaged in something of training-camp-style workouts designed to strengthen his ailing right knee and build up his stamina.

Nowitzki will shed more light on where he's at later today after the team wraps up practice around noon.

Jason Kidd has played seven games since his four-game absence with back spasms, and his performances haven't exactly been championship caliber. Kidd's minutes keep going up while his shooting percentages keep going down.

Here's where both players stand:

J-Kidd
Season averages: 30.5 mpg, 4.3 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.7 rpg
The breakdown: Kidd played 29 minutes in his return from injury Jan. 14 and in the six games after that he has averaged 33.8 minutes a game, which is a tick more than last season's average and probably a little more than coach Rick Carlisle would like to play his 38-year-old point guard. Carlisle has said he'd like to keep Kidd around 30 minutes a game. Some of Kidd's performances have been real head-scratchers. He makes such wonderful passes so often that when he makes a turnover it's easy to overlook it. But lately, it's been hard for anyone to make sense of some of the decisions and ill-advised passes he's made. Compounding the issue is the fact that his shooting is awful. Kidd is at career-lows for field goals (28.2 percent) and from 3-point range (25.8 percent). His two 3s in Wednesday's loss to Minnesota marked the first time he made more than one since Dec. 30, a span of 11 games.

Dirk
Season averages: 30.9 mpg, 17.5 ppg, 5.4 apg, 2.3 rpg
The breakdown: Nowitzki hasn't played since last Thursday. He will address the media today and could address whether he will be ready for his scheduled return date Sunday at home against the Spurs.