Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki will not play in the Mavericks’ final games of the season after undergoing ankle surgery. (Tony Gutierrez/ Associated Press)

Dirk Nowitzki will sit out the last three games of the season after having surgery Thursday on his left ankle, effectively ending his 20th season.

The Mavericks announced the surgery in a press release on Thursday morning, following the procedure.

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that forward/center Dirk Nowitzki underwent surgical debridement of his left ankle. The surgery was performed by Dr. Eugene Curry and Dr. Daniel Worrel at the Carrell Clinic in Dallas.

The debridement procedure was to help alleviate the swelling for the 39-year-old forward.

Nowitzki, even after two decades in the league, appeared in 77 games for the Mavericks this season. Nowitzki, who signed a 2-year deal to stay with the team that drafted him in 1998, has made it clear that he wants to play out the duration of the contract.

In an interview with Marc Stein last month, Nowitzki reiterated the fact that he wants to come back and play.

“As of now, I’m planning to come back. I feel great. I’ve only missed one game all season. I signed a two-year contract because I wanted to play two more years. Here we are.”

This season hasn’t been one to remember for Nowitzki and the Mavericks. For the first time in his tenure with the team, Dallas lost 50 games. Dallas ownership and the front office made it clear that they are looking ahead to the NBA draft in June. The league fined owner Mark Cuban $600,000 for remarks made on a podcast saying “losing is our best option” in regards to the team’s losing record.

Nowitzki averaged 12 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists during his 20th season with the Mavericks. His 24.7 minutes per game this year are the second lowest of his career; the closest being his rookie season where he averaged 20 minutes a game.

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