Cut could sideline Nowitzki against Cavs

DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki(notes) could miss Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers while the deep gash to his right elbow heals.

Nowitzki was hurt during a collision with Houston Rockets forward Carl Landry(notes) on Friday night. Landry broke five teeth in the collision, parts of two of which were imbedded in Nowitzki’s cut.

Nowitzki stayed home from the Mavericks’ practice Saturday because he’s taking pain killers to aid his recovery. The injury wasn’t serious enough for Nowitzki to need surgery.

The Mavericks are officially listing Nowitzki as questionable for Sunday’s game, and team officials are uncertain when he’ll return.

“We obviously are hoping for the best,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. “We don’t know what the timetable is going to be. We got to have other guys ready. We’ve had a lot of guys play well this year. I expect them to continue to do that in his absence.”

Nowitzki was injured when he drove into the lane and missed a short jumper with 9:28 left in the second quarter. Landry was hit in the mouth by Nowitzki’s right elbow and bit entirely through his mouthpiece during the impact. Mavericks swingman Josh Howard(notes) started in place of Nowitzki in the second half.

“It’s not a one-man team,” Mavs guard Jason Kidd(notes) said. “That’s the beauty of this team is we have so many guys that can put the ball in the basket. It’s a great opportunity for everybody to try to pick up the slack and pick up from what Dirk normally gives us.”

Landry received a root canal and two dental bridges Saturday. He missed the Rockets’ game against Oklahoma City.

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