Sunday, May 25, 2003

Nowitzki doubtful for tonight's Game 4


NBA Notebook

Enquirer news services

DALLAS - Dirk Nowitzki's knee injury is not as bad as the Mavericks feared, although Dallas listed him as doubtful for today's Game 4 against San Antonio.

An MRI showed Nowitzki sprained the ligaments that hold his left kneecap in place, but there was no other structural damage.

"With an injury like this, the typical recovery time is 10-14 days," Mavericks team physician Dr. T.O. Souryal said. "However, Dirk is an amazing athlete and with 24-hour treatment that we have already implemented, we hope he may be able to return to the court during this series."

Nowitzki's knee buckled inward when he collided with San Antonio's Manu Ginobili during the fourth quarter of Game 3 Friday.

CAVS, VAN GUNDY CLOSE? Cleveland general manager Jim Paxson said Friday the team's coaching search was ongoing. There are two candidates - former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy and former Hornets coach Paul Silas.

Citing unnamed sources, the New York Post reported Friday that Van Gundy could become the team's coach by early next week. The Cavs and Van Gundy denied the two were close to any deal.

"I spoke with them briefly (Friday); I hadn't spoken to them in nine days," Van Gundy said during TNT's broadcast of the Spurs-Mavs game Friday. "Nothing has been offered. They're still in the process of selecting a coach."

RUMOR MILL: Word around the NBA is Minnesota is willing to trade Kevin Garnett, primarily to a large-market team that could meet his price as a free agent. The Timberwolves don't want to let on they would consider a deal for their best player ever, but for the first time, owner Glen Taylor recently opened the door.

"The only way we would trade him is if Kevin said that he really thought that was the best thing for him, or something like that. It would have to be built on something I couldn't even think of right now," Taylor said. Those comments to reporters confirmed what general managers had been hearing: Garnett could be had. And Chicago, more than any other team, has the requisites to make a deal. The Bulls' door is open with the hiring of John Paxson as GM. Garnett, who attended his senior year of high school in Chicago, previously said he wouldn't play for the Bulls because he blamed Jerry Krause for the team's decline after 1998.

Garnett has one season left on his six-year, $126 million contract.




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