EVENING UPDATE: Dirk Is In, Caron Is Out

We mentioned after the Memphis trip that Dirk Nowitzki has only missed 32 games in his astounding career. So why in our mind's eye do we picture him as "always hurting his ankles''? We give you the latest word in injury issues with Dirk and Caron Butler live from the AAC and the Mavs' Monday shootaround in preparation for the Hornets.

UPDATED at 615pm

The media just spoke to Carlisle and DB.com just spoke to Caron. He's out ... and he's down about it. Check this thread for the full quotes.

First, Dirk. ...

Nowitzki is fine. "100-percent-ish,'' you might say.

It's a miracle!'' laughed GM Donnie Nelson.

Actually, it's quite commonplace. But even Dirk himself talks as if this is some chronic and potentially disabling issue.

"I don't think there's much ligament and bones left in there," Nowitzki said after following his brief departure from the win in Memphis due to the sprain with a full night of work in Friday's win over Philly. "(His ankles don't) really swell up any more. I actually thought I rolled it pretty good the other night. It was pretty stiff the first minute, but once I actually walked it off in Memphis, I already knew I was coming back. I guess I just rolled it so many times in my career that it hurts for a couple of minutes then I'm able to walk it off."
There was that same stiffness on Friday, and maybe it contributed to limiting The UberMan to 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting. But, he said, "I threw in a couple of Advils before the game and it felt pretty good.''

But someday?

"Somebody might have to wheel me around when I'm 40," Nowitzki kidded.
Mix in with the joking and the negative reputation some truths:

1: "He's got an incredible pain threshold,'' says Mavs legend Ro Blackman. "I've never seen anything like it. He gets hurt, but he never gets injured.''

2: Says Mavs coach Rick Carlisle: "This guy is so tough. I mean, it's ridiculous.''

3: And there is this: Dirk has sustained eight ankle sprains during his 12-year career, but the injuries sidelined him for a total of only 16 games.
The "16 games'' is paltry. Is the eight ankle sprains a lot?

Not to me personally; from age 13 to age 49, I sprained, twisted or broke an ankle every single winter of every single year. (At age 50, I decided to protect my ankles by doing more couch-reclining.) Where Dirk says his ankles are essentially devoid of "ligament and bone,'' X-rays of my ankles reveal a jigsaw puzzle of junk.

Considering his profession, I just don't think eight ankle sprains is odd.

Really, it's not the UberAnkles hurting that is the story here; it's how the UberAnkles heal.

Consider:
In the eight occasions when he's hurt his ankles, he's missed …

1 Four games.

2 Zero games.

3 Zero games.

4 One game.

5 Five games.

6 One game.

7 Four games.

8 One game.
The moral to the story? Tell your mind's eye to mind its own business.

Now to Caron ...

Moments ago, I asked Carlisle about Butler's status for tonight.

"Game-time decision,'' Rick answered, and I mean, the answer was terse.

Butler himself was a bit more engaging in discussing how much he wants to play tonight.

"I went through the practice (Sunday) and pretty much did everything,'' he said. "So we'll see. I did some things (this morning in shootaround). There was a little tightness. I want to be 100 percent before I step back out here so I don't (re-aggravate the injury). ... so it doesn't happen again.

"There's no rush,'' Caron added, "but I want to be out there. You want to be out there playing in a big game, against an undefeated team coming into your house. I want to be out there. We'll see how it feels.''


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