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Mavs’ Dirk Nowitzki should be ready for season despite ‘minor setback’ with sore tendons

At 40 years of age, every minor injury for Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki becomes a relevant cause for concern. Thankfully, it appears that the Mavs veteran is going to be ready for opening night despite suffering a “minor setback.”

Nowitzki reportedly sustained a tendon-related injury while taking part in a pickup game. He has been working his way back from an ankle injury, so it is only natural to deal with this kind of soreness.

With 20 grueling season under his belt, Nowitzki’s body has had its fair share of wear and tear. This is exactly why the Mavs will need to be very careful with Dirk this season.

Despite his tenure, Nowitzki has actually played in at least 75 games in four of the last five seasons. This is an impressive statistic, and one that the Mavs also deserve credit for. They have done an excellent job in managing Nowitzki’s playing time in such a way that he is still able to suit up for roughly 90 percent of the team’s total games.

Nowitzki’s minutes have seen a steady decline over these last few years. He played 31.5 minutes per contest in the 2015-16 season. This number dropped to just 24.7 minutes per ballgame last year. This is a far cry from Dirk’s career average of 34.4 minutes per game.

It would not be surprising if Nowitzki’s minutes hover within the 20-minute mark this year as a bench player. More maintenance days for the former MVP should also be expected.

Nowitzki is no longer the cornerstone superstar he once was for the Mavs. However, he will still play a pivotal role in transitioning the next era of the franchise as he serves as a mentor to his team’s young and promising core.