Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs have been here before, as you can remember from the above video.
We do not want The UberMan, now 37, to go there again.
The Mavericks have passed the midway point of the 2015-16 season, surprising many preseason prognosticators by collecting 24 wins in their first 43 games. Dallas survived minor injuries to Deron Williams, Devin Harris, and several others along the way, all while starters Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons worked their ways back from offseason surgery. However new injury concerns have surfaced as center Zaza Pachulia and team MVP Nowitzki both appeared on Wednesday’s injury report.
Pachulia’s injury is listed as right Achilles soreness, an ailment that forced the veteran out of last week’s loss to the Thunder. Achilles soreness is common in NBA players, especially amongst veterans with extended career workloads. However digging into Zaza’s injury history reveals his soreness may require extra attention. Pachulia battled reoccurring Achilles tendinitis in his right foot throughout the 2012-13 season. Pachulia, then the starting center for the Hawks, ultimately opted for surgery to address a partial tear in the area and would miss the final 24 games of the regular season and all six of Atlanta’s postseason outings. He made a full recovery and was available to start the following season after signing with Milwaukee. Unfortunately another issue emerged in early December and Pachulia would miss 28 games with a fractured calcaneus, the bone that serves as the anchor for the Achilles. He would be fine down the stretch though a minor calf strain in the area would cost him six games the following season. Given this lengthy history, it’s not surprising to see a soon-to-be 32 year old averaging the second most minutes per game of his career develop soreness in the area.
The esteemed Dallas medical staff, led by head athletic trainer Casey Smith, will now be tasked with minimizing any of the current symptoms and preventing anything more problematic from developing. Given their previous track record, Mavs fans should take solace in knowing what DB.com originally called "Plan ZZ'' is in good hands.
The fears surrounding Nowitzki are equally, if not more so, warranted. Nowitzki’s injury was described to DB.com on Wednesday morning as right knee effusion. Effusion is simply fluid or swelling surrounding the knee joint capsule. As Mavericks radio announcer Chuck Cooperstein pointed out, the term should sound familiar to Mavs fans, as it was exactly the way the team described Nowitzki’s knee injury that ultimately required surgery and cost him the first 27 games of the ill-fated 2012-13 season.
However pressing the panic button just yet would be a bit premature.
While effusion can be result of a serious underlying problem, it can also develop following overuse and be associated with other less threatening ailments like osteoarthritis or bursitis. The Mavericks are well aware of Nowitzki’s importance and will likely send him for further testing and images.
These detailed evaluations should help clarify if the issue is something significant or simply the result of a 17-year veteran playing six games in 10 days while averaging 33.0 minutes a game.
There are other injury issues for tonight, regarding Raymond Felton, as we note here on DB.com Boards, where you can join the discussion. ... featuring "AtomicAnt'''s find of Dirk at the 1:07 mark of the Mavs-Celtics video.
Follow FishSports on Twitter for updates on this story and tonight's Mavs-Minny game. Follow DB.com athletic-training expert Jeff Stotts here.