Capitals

Nowitzki has first practices since knee surgery

Nowitzki has first practices since knee surgery

DALLAS (AP) Dirk Nowitzki has gone through his first full practice with the Dallas Mavericks since undergoing knee surgery that forced the 11-time All-Star to miss every game so far this season.

Following the practice Wednesday, Nowitzki gave no real timetable on when he might make his season debut, except to say ``maybe any time after Christmas.''

Nowitizki had arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee Oct. 19. It was the first knee surgery for the 7-foot forward in his 15th NBA season.

Nowitzki said he'll see how his knee reacts after the first day of stopping, pushing off and moving. He said he plans to have a couple of similar practice and will absorb some contact as well before trying to play in a game.

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Lars Eller departs the bubble for birth of his second child

Lars Eller departs the bubble for birth of his second child

Capitals forward Lars Eller has left the NHL bubble in Toronto to be with his family for the birth of his second child, the team announced Wednesday. Eller had made it known he intended to do so before even arriving in Toronto so the news of his departure is no surprise.

Eller is actually not the first player to voluntarily leave the bubble for the birth of a child. That honor goes to Ivan Barbashev of the St. Louis Blues who departed on Tuesday.

Eller’s departure means he will miss Thursday’s game, Travis Boyd is expected to step into Eller’s position at third line center. Boyd has largely been an extra for much of the season in Washington and played in only 24 games, but still managed 10 points. Boyd also has experience playing the third-line center role in the playoffs as he did it in 2018 during the team’s Cup run. An injury to Nicklas Backstrom pushed Eller into the second line, which allowed Boyd to get into the lineup.

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Eller’s return will be complicated. It is not just a matter of rejoining the team, but also being able to re-enter the NHL’s bubble which will mean a period of quarantine and testing. That means that even upon returning to Toronto, he will not be available to join the team right away. Eller will almost certainly miss the team’s final round robin game as well against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

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Ben Simmons leaves Wizards matchup early with a knee injury

Ben Simmons leaves Wizards matchup early with a knee injury

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons left Wednesday’s game against the Wizards late in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury. Reports say he will not return for the remainder of the matchup.

In 23 minutes, he recorded eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals against Washington before leaving for the locker room early.

Simmons has been an instrumental piece of the 76ers’ success this season and would be a major loss should the injury sideline him from the remainder of play in the bubble. This season, he has averaged 16.6 points, 8.1 assists and 7.8 rebounds.

In the Sixers’ loss to Indiana on Saturday, he recorded a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double and added eight points and five assists in the win over San Antonio on Monday.

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