DALLAS – It’s been 17 days since Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki underwent surgical debridement of his left ankle. Since then, Nowitzki has gone from wearing a long walking boot to a much more comfortable shorter version.
The 20-year veteran announced during the 10th Annual Festival De Los Mavs on Sunday at Gilley’s Dallas that the stitches will be moved from his surgically repaired left ankle on Monday. And that procedure will be a big step in Nowitzki’s rehab process.
“It’s been over two weeks now (since the surgery) and I’m moving around without (the walking boot) already pretty good at home,” Nowitzki said. “But once you step out (of the house), I’ll still wear the boot.
“It’s progressing good, but it’ll be awhile until I can run and do basketball activities. I already started rehabbing a little bit and riding the bike and lifting a little bit and doing some movement stuff. It’s going to be, unfortunately, a piece of work all summer, but hopefully it’s going to help me next season.”
Nowitzki, who turns 40 on June 19, couldn’t say whether or not if he’s ahead of schedule as far as his rehab is concerned. But he was jovial as he signed autographs and took pictures with Mavs fans on Sunday.
And Nowitzki reiterated that he’s looking forward to getting back on the court and trying to help the Mavs get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
“I’m not even sure what schedule, but I think we’re on,” said Nowitzki, who underwent surgery on Apr. 5. “I’m supposed to wear the boot, they said, originally for four weeks. I’m walking around already without it pretty good at home. Like I said, once I step out I’m probably going to wear it for a couple more weeks.
“Hopefully when May rolls around I can do a little more and walk around and maybe do a little more stuff in the weight room. But we’ll see how it goes.”
More than anything, as Nowitzki approaches what could be his final NBA season, he would like to retire following a season that’s more palatable than the 24-58 season the Mavs recently completed.
“I miss the playoffs the last couple of years,” Nowitzki said. “The intensity goes up, the atmosphere is amazing, so it’s still tough to watch.
“Obviously in our league the fun comes with winning, so hopefully we can get back to winning some games.”
Nowitzki is expecting the Mavs to draft a player who can contribute right away, and also pick up a solid free agent or two this summer. In the meantime, he’s concentrating on getting his ankle in tip-top shape in time for training camp next fall.
“The foot is not great,’ Nowitzki said. “That’s obvious after 20 years in the league. I think I got arthritis in every joint I have in my body, which is normally I guess after 20 years.
“But they corrected that one area that it was just blocking me and bothering me all season long, and hopefully it’ll be a lot better next season.”