Dallas Mavericks: Kristaps Porzingis’ injury needs to be managed like Dirk Nowitzki’s in 2003
How Dallas Mavericks GOAT Dirk Nowitzki’s 2003 playoff injury compares to Kristaps Porzingis’ in 2020
In 2003, the Mavericks finished 60-22 which tied the Spurs for the best record in the West. Due to division rules, the Mavs were moved down to the three seed for the playoffs, and the Kings took over the two seed.
Dirk led the way that season averaging 25.1 points per game and was very close to a 50/40/90 season. The Mavericks beat the Blazers and Kings in the first two rounds of the playoffs and faced the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
The Mavericks needed seven games to beat both the Blazers and the Kings, so the playoffs had already been a long battle. Dallas won game one against the Spurs before losing two straight. Tim Duncan scored over 30 in each of the first three games. Dirk Nowitzki sprained his knee during game three. Questionable for game four, Dirk wanted desperately to try and play.
Sports Illustrated reported that owner Mark Cuban wanted Dirk to play in game four, but head coach Don Nelson thought he should sit. SI quoted Don Nelson as saying, “I didn’t want to jeopardize this great young player’s career for a basketball game, no matter how important it seemed at the time”.
While Dirk could have played and stayed healthy, there is no guarantee of what the long term effects would have been.
Resting Dirk may have caused the Mavericks to lose one series, but they may have lost anyway. If Nowitzki’s knee received more damage, his prime may end sooner. That could mean fewer broken records or the Mavericks not winning a title in 2011. With instant gratification and the desire to focus solely on the present, it is easy to lose sight of the future.
That leads us back to Kristaps Porzingis’ injury right now.
Next: Trust the medical staff