"Dirk will get there. And we know he'll be back at some point. But nobody knows exactly when that's going to be," coach Rick Carlisle said. "For right now, we've got to press forward with the guys we have and we've got to take up the slack in some of these areas where we're having some slippage and where we're losing ground."
Nowitzki said it's been tough to sit and watch knowing there are ways he could help if he was playing.
But he has no plans to rush himself back, like he had to do after the NBA lockout following the championship season.
"I need to make sure everything's right before I come back. I can't rush. I'm hoping maybe after these two years to play a couple more years," he said. "So it would be the wrong thing now to push it and come back too early and maybe make something worse for the long term. So it's been learning to be patient the last couple weeks. It's not my favorite thing to do."
When asked if there had been any setbacks in his rehabilitation, Nowitzki said it's just been a slow process that he didn't expect since he had never had surgery before.
Nowitzki said doctors didn't find anything "that was crazy or anything unexpected" during the surgery. He figures 14 NBA seasons, and playing on the German national team during the summers, just took its toll on his knee.
"I'm always a fast healer, so when I heard I'm doing this rehab, in my head I'm thinking I'm playing in 2, 3 weeks. But it just didn't work out that way," he said. "It's a piece of work, but it's getting better from here."