Dirk Nowitzki to play Friday vs. Clips

DALLAS -- Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is playing Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, two days after he sprained his left ankle in the first minute of a win over the Washington Wizards, coach Rick Carlisle said.

Nowitzki had been considered a game-time decision, although he returned to play 32 minutes against the Wizards.

Nowitzki did not participate in the Mavs' morning shootaround Friday, riding the exercise bike on the side. Carlisle said he didn't believe Nowitzki was dealing with significant swelling in the ankle.

Nowitzki, a 16-year veteran who is averaging 20.9 points per game this season, has a long history of recovering quickly from sprained ankles. He has suffered at least 10 known ankle sprains in his career but missed only 16 games due to those injuries.

He returned to Wednesday's win in the first quarter after getting his ankle retaped and taking some pain medication. After scoring only nine points on 3-of-14 shooting against the Wizards, he joked that he was an "expensive decoy."

"It was obvious that I wasn't moving well," Nowitzki told reporters. "I didn't get any elevation on my jumper. I was just trying to spread the floor."

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