Nowitzki returns after missing entire season
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, of Germany, celebrates a score late in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The Associated Press
Published Sunday, December 23, 2012 7:54PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 23, 2012 9:57PM EST
SAN ANTONIO - Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki made his season debut Sunday night, entering the game as a substitution midway through the first quarter of a 129-91 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Nowitzki came on with 6:28 left in the quarter to a hearty mix of cheers and boos. The former MVP played in one preseason game for the Mavs but had missed the team's first 27 regular season games. He immediately picked up a rebound for Dallas (12-15).
Nowitzki, who underwent surgery on his right knee Oct. 19 after experiencing soreness last season, closed the first quarter with three rebounds and two points after making his only shot attempt.
He finished with eight points -- going 3 for 4 from the field -- and six rebounds in 20 minutes.
The 34-year-old has averaged 22.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in his career. He led the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA title, but struggled last season while dealing with the knee injury. He took some time off midway through last season to rehabilitate and finished with a 21.6 scoring average -- his lowest since 1999-2000 -- in 62 games.