Dallas Mavericks forward/center Dirk Nowitzki had surgery on his left ankle, effectively ending his season.
A 39-year-old forward, Nowitzki elected to have the surgery now and miss the Mavericks' final four regular-season games to begin the rehabilitation process as soon as possible.
The team said Thursday that Nowitzki underwent a procedure to clear out unhealthy tissue, called surgical debridement. He was listed as questionable for the Mavericks' game in Cleveland on Sunday with a left ankle impingement, which is a problem related to bone spurs, something that Nowitzki has had periodic problems with throughout his career in both ankles. "Dirk's plan to return for a 21st season remain [s] in place".
If Nowitzki returns for the 2018-19 season, he'd likely have another injection of young talent to play alongside him, Dennis Smith Jr. - this year's standout rookie - and Harrison Barnes. There is a team option on his $5 million contract, but owner Mark Cuban has often said Nowitzki will decide how long he plays, not management. I mean, I wasn't delusional. "I'm praying for a 21st year, but no one knows for sure".
In his 20th National Basketball Association season, he averaged 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds in 77 games.
Even with the pain in his ankle, Nowitzki had 14 points in Tuesday's win over Portland.
No NBA player has ever played more than 20 seasons with the same team.
BC-BKN-Mavericks-Nowitzki Surgery, 1st Ld-Writethru, 326Nowitzki's 20th season with Mavs ends early after surgeryAP Photo DNA112Eds: Updates.
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