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Dirk Nowitzki key to this season, beyond

Reverting to old form critical to Mavericks making run now, recruiting in offseason

Updated: January 27, 2012, 4:31 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Has Dirk Nowitzki's decline begun?

That's a question that gets asked when the 33-year-old face of the Dallas Mavericks' franchise struggles mightily by his Hall of Fame standards for the first quarter of the season and doesn't play for a week so he can go through a personal training camp to get his sore right knee and the rest of his body ready for the NBA grind.

"Yeah, he's just done," owner Mark Cuban said, his voice dripping sarcasm and a dose of disgust as he dismisses ...

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