After missing the Mavericks' exhibition loss to FC Barcelona Regal last week, Nowitzki mentioned that he might need to undergo surgery if the swelling returns to the knee. He had the knee drained for a second time during training camp last week and practiced Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"He'll talk to you after the game," coach Rick Carlisle said, declining to comment further about Nowitzki.
Nowitzki participated in the Mavs' shootaround on Monday and originally planned to play against the Rockets. He was doing conditioning work on an elliptical machine about an hour before tipoff, after Carlisle announced that Nowitzki would not play.
Nowitzki also had problems with swelling and soreness in his right knee early last season, when he got off to a slow start in what was his worst statistical campaign since the 11-time All-Star's second year in the NBA. He missed four games to work on his conditioning in January and did not have any more issues with the knee the rest of the season.