ARLINGTON (AP) – Once the World Series is over, Dirk Nowitzki will start planning a trip back to Germany unless there’s progress toward starting the NBA season.
The NBA finals MVP said Saturday that he wants to resume training with his personal coach if it seems unlikely he will be playing for the Dallas Mavericks any time soon.
“It’s time to really get back in the routine,” Nowitzki said after throwing out the first pitch for Game 3 of the World Series. “Got to keep the options open, maybe see what’s going on overseas.”
Nowitzki has become a baseball fan over his 13 years in the United States. Because the Texas Rangers are his local team, he roots for them, and even has a blue jersey customized with his name and number. He threw out the first pitch at a game this summer after leading the Mavs to their first title and attended Game 6 of the AL championship series. He wasn’t able to make it to a World Series game when the Rangers made it last year, so he was eager to attend — and take part — on Saturday night.
“I’m really proud of obviously representing the (Dallas-Fort Worth) Metroplex,” he said.
Nowitzki has said he would wait until early 2012 before considering playing for a European team. With only training camp and the first two weeks of the season scrubbed so far, he is keeping that timetable.
“If the lockout still stays strong, I’ve definitely got to look into something there January and February,” he said.
Nowitzki is still wearing a splint on the middle finger of his left hand, a remnant of the torn tendon sustained during Game 2 of the finals against the Miami Heat. The injury was supposed to have healed by now, but it turns out that he aggravated it while playing for Germany in the European championships.
“I took a ball on it in the Euros this summer, so it was kind of like sagging again,” Nowitzki said. “I’ve got to keep it straight for, whatever, four, six weeks. But it doesn’t bother me at all. It doesn’t hurt or anything.”
He said surgery won’t be necessary.
Germany was knocked out of the Euros before the quarterfinals, eliminating its chances of making the 2012 Olympics. Nowitzki said he hasn’t even touched a basketball since then.
“I’ve just been keeping in shape, you know, working out, doing lots of cardio and lifting a little bit and running,” he said. “If the season will start any time soon, I think I’ll be ready.”
Nowitzki hasn’t attended any of the labor meetings, but he said he would consider it. He said it was very disappointing that the latest round of negotiations didn’t produce a settlement.
“We’re all hoping, I guess, with the mediator, that something was going to happen, and just talks broke off, so it’s very unfortunate,” he said. “Hopefully we can get something going here any time soon. But it doesn’t look good. “
Nowitzki said there are several parallels between the Rangers’ quest for their first championship and the Mavs’ winning their first, such as a late rally to win Game 2 and tie the series at 1-1 before heading home. The Mavs won it all on their second try and this is the Rangers’ second trip.
“Hopefully, they’ll learn from last year like we did in ’06 and just be able to close it out,” he said. “That would be awesome for the Metroplex to do it in the same year, get a championship and have another parade.”
Would he sing “We Are The Champions” in their parade like he did during his team’s celebration?
“For sure,” he said, smiling. “If they want me in it, I’m there.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)