By Mike Piellucci
Rick Carlisle has kept to his vow not to give daily updates on Dirk Nowitzki's condition.
His latest statement on the forward's progress, however, points to Nowitzki sitting out his ninth straight game on Friday when the team takes on the Spurs in San Antonio.
"Dirk increases his workouts every day, and signs are positive," Carlisle said to reporters on Thursday. "But it's very important that we focus on the guys we have available at this time and make sure that he gets back absolutely 100 percent healthy
"We've listed him day-to-day because we don't believe this is a serious injury, and he is making progress. On the other hand, we're going to maintain an extremely cautious posture on this going forward and like everyone else, we want him to be back 100 percent healthy as soon as possible. We'll let you know when he's going to play. It could be very soon. It could be awhile."
It's not hard to read between the lines on that and realize that Carlisle's insistence on Nowitzki being "absolutely 100 percent healthy" plus giving such an indefinite time frame means that, at the very least, he won't play against the Spurs. To wit, Nowitzki still has not participated in a full practice since getting hurt, a key sign that he's not at full strength just yet.
No Nowitzki almost certainly spells disaster for Friday's game. San Antonio has the league's best record at 33-6, and the Mavs' current 2-6 swoon has included losses to Eastern Conference bottom-feeders Indiana, Toronto, and Milwaukee.
The veteran Mavs are a tough bunch who have been in almost every game they've lost during the stretch without Nowitzki, and there's enough defensive toughness and know-how to give the Spurs a tough fight.
Nevertheless, it likely will take a Heculean effort for the short-handed bunch to leave the AT&T Center with a win on Friday.
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