Dirk Nowitzki had arthroscopic surgery Friday on his bothersome right knee, which is expected to keep him on the sidelines for six weeks. The Dallas Mavericks forward will surely miss the beginning of the season now, which is a major blow for a team that many already thought would have a battle on its hands to make the playoffs.
But the Mavs have no reason to panic. While they are expecting Nowitzki to be out for six weeks, the procedure usually requires four to six weeks of recovery time, so there is the possibility of an earlier return. Also, even if he does miss six weeks, he will only miss 16 games. That leaves him 66 games to play, which is a fair number for a 34-year-old.
Mavs Moneyball isn't panicking about Nowitzki's absence either. While they would undoubtedly prefer he be healthy, the Mavericks are hardly in panic mode and a big part of that is their schedule in the 16 games that Nowitzki is expected to miss.
Better news for the Mavericks is who they play in that span. While this includes two games against the Lakers (although don't be surprised, if all goes well, if Dirk suits up for the Nov 24th game), it also includes two games against the Bobcats, one against the decimated Blazers, the Raptors, the Wolves without (Kevin) Love and probably without Love and (Ricky) Rubio, the Wizards, the Cavs and the Warriors.
Even without Nowitzki, those are some very winnable games for the Mavs. If they can just manage to get through Nowitzki's injury, which looks doable considering the schedule, they should be in fine shape to make yet another run at the playoffs.