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Thursday, January 19, 2012
Dirk Nowitzki has knee issues

By Jeff Caplan
ESPNDallas.com

LOS ANGELES -- After shooting 6-of-18 for 17 points in Wednesday's 91-89 loss to the Clippers, Dirk Nowitzki acknowledged that his right knee is causing him problems.

"I'm having trouble bending my knees," said Nowitzki, who has been wearing a protective sleeve over the knee, the same one he sprained last season and caused him to miss nine games. "I've just got to get my legs stronger, get my base back. I've got to use my legs in my shot and hopefully they'll come back soon."

Nowitzki also was battling a cold Wednesday, missing the morning shootaround but playing in the game.

After the long postseason run, followed by playing for Germany in the Olympic qualifying tournament at the end of the summer, Nowitzki said he was sick of basketball and likely took too much time off.

That, combined with the hastened training camp and the onslaught of games, he said, has caused the knee irritation.

"It's OK, better than it was three weeks ago, so that's very good," Nowitzki said. "But, it's still just stiff and I can't move the way I want to, but it will be OK. I'm going to keep on working, get a stronger base, get my legs strong where they were in June and hopefully I'll be back to my normal self."

Nowitzki isn't the only banged-up Maverick. Vince Carter was sent back to Dallas before Wednesday's game to have his sprained left foot examined. He is likely out for both Thursday's game in Utah and Saturday's game in New Orleans.

Jeff Caplan covers the Mavs for ESPNDallas.com.