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Dirk Nowitzki hopes he’s back from his lingering Achilles injury in days, not weeks

The injury has been bothering Dirk all year.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dirk Nowitzki spoke to the media for the first time in three games, since playing 27 minutes against the Clippers and deciding to sit out more games with lingering Achilles soreness.

Nowitzki didn’t have much new information about his injury, calling it day-to-day and saying he hoped to be back as soon as possible, but not knowing whether that would be a matter of days or weeks.

Right now, Nowitzki said he doesn’t see this year as a rebuilding year, and any other way of looking at it is “nonsense.” For Nowitzki, while the health has been a struggle to begin this season, the injury definitely isn’t career threatening and he doesn’t currently see it changing his plans to play at least this year and one more — part of the 2-year, $50-million contract he signed over the summer.

Here’s a full quoteboard of what he said (with some video!).

Dirk’s opening statement.

We obviously ramped it up and I thought I was going to be ready to play, the Clippers game was OK. And then I played the Cleveland game, went back out there for the second half and things weren’t great, I came back a little bit so we have a little set back which was unfortunate, so that’s really where we’re at. We’re really just seeing it day by day, pushing it a little more, see how it reacts, if it’s not great we back off another day so it’s just kind of working day by day here. Hopefully, obviously, be out there soon. It’s frustrating, the whole situation’s frustrating to deal with something that I never have (dealt with) in my career, so it’s tough, but once I’m out there I don’t want the same thing to happen again that happened last week, so I wanna make sure that it’s good to go. At this stage of my career I don’t move well anyway, so if I’m out there at 80, 90 percent, I don’t think I’m a big help. So I want to make sure my body’s responding the right way and we’ll go from there.

Are you thinking weeks more than days?

I hope not, I hope not. I try to be positive and just ramp it up day by day. Yesterday we ran a little bit on the treadmill, we did a little stuff on the court, obviously nowhere near what I need to do before a game. That’s why we said that we’re still a few games away, but a lot can change in a day so we’ll just have to go day by day.

How frustrating is it to watch from the sidelines as the team struggles?

Sometimes it’s tough because I know the one thing I can still semi do is score the ball and spread the floor for them, and we go through stretches where we just couldn’t score enough. That’s the toughest thing for me, to know that I could help a little bit and create some room for these guys and really the tough thing, we haven’t really had our starting five together much, or our whole team together much. It’s disappointing I went down, and obviously D-Will was out for a bunch. Devin hasn’t seen much action. And then J.J., basically, we had to overplay him because the other two guards went down and then he went down with the tough injury, so it’s been a tough year injury wise. Other teams are getting hit hard as well and you just have to fight through it and somehow hold the fort. It’s been tough to watch but I try to stay positive and keep a positive environment on off days when guys come in with their heads down, try to joke with them and somehow stay positive.

Is this a rebuilding year?

I never look at it that way, you know. Obviously the bigger hole gets the tougher it is to fight out in a tough West, but with D-Will hopefully being more healthy and playing more minutes again, hopefully we can sneak by and get some wins here in December. We’ve got a better schedule and I think we had one of the toughest, if not the toughest, schedule in November, so lotta road games, lot of traveling, lot of tough teams coming in. Hopefully with the schedule in our favo we can get some wins and cut into the lead and hopefully get healthy. Hopefully get J.J. back soon, hopefully I’ll be back soon, and then we can run off some wins. That’s the only way I look at it and everything else is nonsense.

Do you still feel like you’ll keep playing through your two-year contract?

“I want to get back on the court as soon as I can. That’s really all I’m worried about right now, for this year. I think we can reevaluate in the summer, talk to the trainers and Cubes and my family, and kind of make a decision there, but right now I’m all in, I wanna play, this is obviously not a career-ending injury that I got. It’s just something that keeps lingering unfortunately. And there’s still a lot of season left, December just started, we know that there’s a lot of games coming. So hopefully sometime soon I’ll be out there and stay out there. I don’t want to jump in and out of the lineup with soreness or fight this entire year. I’d love to be healthy and be out there once I go.”