The Dallas Mavericks' season ended when they were eliminated from playoff contention, but Dirk Nowitzki's season has only ended today when he decided he would undergo surgery on his ankle. He will miss the final three games of the season as he recovers.
The Mavericks will feel Nowitzki's absence as he is the No. 6 scorer in National Basketball Association history averaging 12 points and shooting 40.7 percent from three-point range this season.
In an interview with The New York Times last week, on the subject of returning for what would be a record 21st consecutive season with one team, Nowitzki said: "As of now, I'm planning to come back".
Nowitzki, who turns 40 on June 19, signed a two-year deal worth $10 million last offseason, with the second year being a club option. The lottery-bound Mavericks have games at Detroit and Philadelphia before finishing the season at home Tuesday against Phoenix.
Nowitzki is a 13-time All-Star and captured the National Basketball Association championship in 2010-11 with the Mavericks. He has career averages of 21.2 points and 7.7 rebounds. The surgery is expected to improve Nowitzki's chances of playing next season.
While Nowitzki consistently has said that he intends to return, there are no guarantees he doesn't wake up one day this summer and change his mind, as remote as that possibility seems to be at the moment. The Mavs superstar and future Hall of Famer played in the 77 of the first 78 games of the season for Dallas before an ankle injury forced him out of Dallas' most recent game against the Magic.