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Dirk Nowitzki returns from knee injury vs. Spurs

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki could be back on the court for the first time this season.

Ronald Martinez

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who hasn't played this year due to knee surgery during training camp, will make his return Saturday night against the San Antonio Spurs, according to @MavsStats.

While he isn't expected to start, getting Nowitzki back in the lineup would be a huge boost for the Mavericks (12-15), who are in fourth place in the Southwest Division and 12th place in the Western Conference.

Nowitzki, an 11-time All-Star, had the precautionary surgery to take care of swelling and soreness in his right knee. He was expected to miss six weeks, but Nowitzki has been out for seven weeks. He practiced for the first time this season on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

Last season, Nowitzki averaged 21.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 33.5 minutes per game. Those numbers were all down from his career averages of 22.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 36.3 minutes per game.