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Nowitzki Hopes to Play Sunday

Absence part of a planned hiatus to rest knee



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    Dirk hopes to be back on the court Sunday.

    Dirk Nowitzki says he's had a good week of work and is shooting to return to the Dallas Mavericks' lineup Sunday.

    Nowitzki spoke to reporters after practice Thursday, one day before the star forward will miss his fourth straight game as part of a planned hiatus to strengthen his sore right knee.

    Coach Rick Carlisle said last weekend that last season's NBA finals MVP needed some extra time to strengthen his knee and get in better game shape. Carlisle said then that Nowtizki would be out at least four games.

    The coach says Nowitzki has made progress, though Carlisle isn't guaranteeing Nowitzki will play Sunday against San Antonio, the last of four consecutive home games.

    Dallas is home against Utah on Friday night.