|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
Dirk Nowitzki wasn't the only Dallas Mavericks forward who missed Saturday's 99-87 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Shawn Marion also wasn't available because of a thigh contusion suffered during Thursday's loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
This was the third consecutive game Nowitzki missed since suffering a mild sprain of his right knee. He joined the Mavericks on this two-game road trip, but there's a strong possibility that Nowitzki will not play again until next week's three-game homestand.
The Mavericks (24-8) have lost all three games without Nowitzki, who is averaging 24.1 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor. Dallas has fallen 4½ games behind San Antonio in the Western Conference standings.With Marion also sidelined, the Mavs will rely heavily on Brian Cardinal, who started Thursday against the Spurs. Cardinal, a 10-year veteran journeyman, has played in only 16 games this season. The other players likely to play extended minutes at power forward for the Mavericks have been used even less this season. Alexis Ajinca has played four games, and Steve Novak has played six. Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.