DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 04: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after scoring against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center on January 4, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. Nowitzki was playing in his 1,000 career game. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dirk Nowitzki is back in the Dallas Mavericks lineup.
Nowitzki started Sunday night's game against San Antonio following a planned four-game hiatus to strengthen his sore right knee and do conditioning work.
The NBA finals MVP averaged 17.5 points and 5.4 rebounds a game in starting the first 16 games for Dallas. The Mavericks went 3-1 without their 7-foot star forward.
Nowitzki's return came at the same time guard Jason Kidd missed the first game of what is expected to be at least a week out of action because of a right calf strain.