Dirk Nowitzki injury: Mavericks hope star can return in 3 weeks

The Dallas Mavericks are expecting forward Dirk Nowitzki to return from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in three weeks, rather than the original expectation of six weeks, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas.

Nowitzki, bothered by soreness and swelling in the knee for most of the preseason, underwent surgery on Friday with the team announcing a timetable for his return to be around six weeks. MacMahon reports, however, that the team is optimistic after the surgery for a much quicker return.

The typical timetable to return from such an operation is three to six weeks. As Nowitzki noted last week, he's been a quick healer in the past, coming back from several ankle sprains sooner than normal.

Sources said the Mavs' medical staff was encouraged by the routine nature of Nowitzki's knee scope. The hope is that the 34-year-old will respond well to rehab and could possibly miss only two weeks of the regular season.

The star forward had to take four games off last season due to soreness in the knee and conditioning concerns, and had to have the knee drained twice this preseason before opting for surgery.

The Mavericks are 2-3 so far in the preseason without Nowitzki, with three games remaining before the season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 30.

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