Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Carlisle return to Mavs’ practice after illnesses

Practice Report: Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki comments on his health status, getting Brandan Wright back from injury, how the team has to improve in anticipation of Wednesday game against the Grizzlies and more.

DALLAS — Two days after finding a way to pull off a 106-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to begin a three-game homestand without the services of their franchise player and head coach due to illnesses, the Dallas Mavericks gladly welcomed 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle back to the practice court Monday morning.

With their two leaders both sidelined for the first time all season, the Mavericks (14-10) used a collective effort to power through the Bucks Saturday night as five players scored in double figures. Now, with both Nowitzki and Carlisle battling through their ailments, the Mavs hope to take advantage of some much-needed practice time during a stretch of three home games in eight days.

“I feel good,” Nowitzki said after missing his first game of the season. “I felt a lot better during the day Saturday, but it really hit me Friday night. Friday, I was struggling to keep fluids in, so Saturday I didn’t feel that hot. But I’m glad the boys pulled it out.

“It was weird, obviously, not being there and then already missing shootaround and just being at home. Not being able to come and be with the guys was tough, but the good thing is it was really just a 24-hour thing. I felt a lot better already come Sunday, until I watched the Cowboys’ game. Then I got sick again,” he jokingly added. “From that standpoint, it was tough Saturday. But Sunday I already felt a lot better, so it was good. And the good thing is we don’t play till Wednesday, so I was a little sluggish obviously today, because I couldn’t hold any fluids in or eat anything really for two days. So my legs felt a little heavy in practice, but it was good to get a sweat in after a couple of days and we have another practice tomorrow. If I feel a lot better tomorrow, then by Wednesday hopefully I’ll be 100 percent.”

Without their leading scorer in the lineup, the Mavericks handed the offensive responsibilities over to big man Brandan Wright, as he made his season debut after missing the first 23 games due to a fractured left shoulder. Wright then quickly made up for lost time, scoring 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting in just under 19 minutes of work.

And with the Mavs’ frontcourt now becoming crowded as Wright and Nowitkzi are joined by new additions DeJuan Blair and Samuel Dalembert, as well as second-year center Bernard James, Carlisle returned to practice with the responsibility of finding playing time for the team’s big bodies.

“It’s the kind of problem you want,” Carlisle explained, “to have a lot of guys that can help. You know, we’ll keep talking to all of our guys and make sure that they’re always ready. There’s going to be nights when certain guys will be the right guys to play and other guys may not. As long as everybody understands we’re all just pulling for the same thing, which is trying to win games, we’ll be alright.”

Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 111-89 home victory on Nov. 2. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.

Practice Report: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on Brandan Wright's first game back from injury, his own health, the additional practice time during the month of December and more.