Redskins

Mavs' Nowitzki still unsure when he will play

Mavs' Nowitzki still unsure when he will play

DALLAS (AP) Dirk Nowitzki was hoping to be back on the court sooner, even when the Dallas Mavericks were saying after his surgery that it could be at least six weeks before any basketball activity.

The perennial All-Star forward instead is finding out just how difficult and frustrating it can be recovering from surgery.

Nowitzki said Tuesday that he's still about two weeks away from getting back on the court to start running and shooting. That would put him at just more than six weeks since arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Oct. 19 - and he still isn't sure when he will start playing again after that.

``Unfortunately, I tried, but I couldn't cut the time down,'' Nowitzki said. ``I was obviously hoping to cut that time a lot shorter. It's been a frustrating time for me, especially watching and nothing I can really do. So there have been some hard days, some frustrating days. ... But I think now it's gotten better this last week or so and now I guess I'm seeing the end of the tunnel.''

Nowitzki, who never had surgery in his first 14 NBA seasons, said the goal has always been for the swelling to be gone and he has to be 100 percent strength-wise before he will play again. There are still good days and bad days with the swelling.

``Once that goal is reached, then I can obviously think about playing again,'' he said. ``But I think we're still far away from that.''

He was able this week to increase his off-court workload, including leg presses and getting back on an elliptical machine.

The 34-year-old, 7-foot German decided to have surgery after problems with swelling early in training camp. Nowitzki had issues with the same knee two seasons ago when he missed time before the Mavs won their only NBA title, then skipped a week last January to strengthen and condition that knee.

The Mavericks (6-6) are trying to get by with eight new players. They could go 20 games or more before getting a chance to play with Nowitzki.

``Dirk will get there. And we know he'll be back at some point. But nobody knows exactly when that's going to be,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. ``For right now, we've got to press forward with the guys we have and we've got to take up the slack in some of these areas where we're having some slippage and where we're losing ground.''

Nowitzki said it's been tough to sit and watch knowing there are ways he could help if he was playing.

But he has no plans to rush himself back, like he had to do after the NBA lockout following the championship season.

``I need to make sure everything's right before I come back. I can't rush. I'm hoping maybe after these two years to play a couple more years,'' he said. ``So it would be the wrong thing now to push it and come back too early and maybe make something worse for the long term. So it's been learning to be patient the last couple weeks. It's not my favorite thing to do.''

When asked if there had been any setbacks in his rehabilitation, Nowitzki said it's just been a slow process that he didn't expect since he had never had surgery before.

Nowitzki said doctors didn't find anything ``that was crazy or anything unexpected'' during the surgery. He figures 14 NBA seasons, and playing on the German national team during the summers, just took its toll on his knee.

``I'm always a fast healer, so when I heard I'm doing this rehab, in my head I'm thinking I'm playing in 2, 3 weeks. But it just didn't work out that way,'' he said. ``It's a piece of work, but it's getting better from here.''

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Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry was at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere last weekend in Los Angeles, where he got the chance to interview the three Redskins rookies in attendance: Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin, and Bryce Love. 

Berry, who was a guest of JP Finlay's on the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday, has been a fan of the Burgundy and Gold since he was a kid, so he was eager to talk to three of the team's newest players and learn more about them.

It was during those interviews where Berry got a quick glimpse of a side of Haskins that now has Berry really excited.

"I thought what was really cool was... When I was interviewing McLaurin, Dwayne Haskins came in and interrupted the interview to give him some crap," he told Finlay. "It was really a wonderful moment to see. Obviously, they know each other very well from Ohio State, but just the fact that they felt comfortable enough and he wanted to come over and mess with him a little bit and have some fun, I was impressed with that."

Once Haskins left, Berry explained how he asked McLaurin about the interaction. Redskins fans will like McLaurin's answer.

"That's Dwayne, Dwayne is being a leader," McLaurin said, per Berry. 

Haskins did something similar to Love during Love's interview as well. Berry even caught up with Colts receiver Parris Campbell, who also played with the QB at Ohio State, to inquire about the 15th overall pick. 

"I asked him, 'Listen, I'm a diehard Redskins fan, what am I getting?'" Berry said. "He couldn't have been more effusive. 'You're not only getting a guy who puts the ball where you want it, but you're getting a leader. You're getting a guy who makes sure everyone in the huddle is included.'"

You can be skeptical of how much these little moments mean, and that's fair. Ultimately, how quickly Haskins picks up Jay Gruden's playbook and how accurate his arm turns out to be will factor more into his success in the NFL than being able to joke around a bit with some of his guys.

But you can also hope that these little moments are hints of a bigger personality and approach, a look into an athlete who can get a football team to buy into him. That's the side Berry is on.

"I thought that was really cool, and just showed somebody who's very comfortable in the leadership position and who's trying to be inclusive of everyone," he said. "It's early in the process, but I have yet to hear somebody on or off the record say something bad about Dwayne Haskins."

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

For Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics, last season's heartbreak in the WNBA Finals is only fuel for another potential postseason run in 2019. 

"That's something I don't think I'll ever let go," Washington's star forward told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "It's always tough when you get to that Finals and you can't finish it off. But I think it's something that can fuel you. You don't want to let it just bring you down and depress you and make it so you can't get over that hump."

"If you use it as fuel and motivation, it can help you get better. I think that's what we're all gonna do."

The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm. Delle Donne, recently named in WNBA.com's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP, is back for her third season in Washington and headlines a strong team that has the talent to compete for the title again.

Her status for Saturday's season opener against the Connecticut Sun is up in the air due to a left knee injury, but Delle Donne believes the Mystics will have another great season given the continuity on the roster from last season and the return of All-Star forward Emma Meesseman. 

"We feel great. We've got our core back," said Delle Donne. "And to be able to add a superstar like Emma to that roster is pretty scary. Especially with her style of play and the way that our team started playing last season, where it was such positionless basketball. Spreading the floor, just spreading it, making it easy for one another to attack, get some threes. She's just gonna add so much to that."

NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.

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