Dallas loses Nowitzki

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DALLAS --- Dirk Nowitzki started to grab the part of his left leg that hurt the most, then stopped. He might not have known what to rub first.

So the reigning league MVP dejectedly put a hand on his head. Then, he pounded the court.

Nowitzki was injured on an ugly-looking fall in the third quarter of Dallas' 88-81 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, but he left the arena without knowing how bad it is. The team called it a "lower left leg injury" and said more details would come today.

"I fell awkwardly, and my left leg got caught underneath of me," Nowitzki said in a statement. "I am going to get re-evaluated in the morning, and I hope to have more information then."

Nowitzki went down after running and jumping to block a shot late in the third quarter.

With Nowitzki writhing on the court, Tim Duncan grabbed the loose ball and scored, putting San Antonio ahead for the first time in the second half.

It came during a 19-0 run that took the Spurs from 12 points down to in control the rest of the way.

San Antonio won its third in a row since a 1-6 slump and got some breathing room over Dallas in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Spurs won the season series 3-1, which would help should the teams wind up tied -- but the Mavericks may have to worry about just making the playoffs if Nowitzki is out for long.

Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 26 points. He started the game-breaking rally with a layup and a 3-pointer, then hit a 3 to cap it. He also was 11-for-11 from the foul line.

Jerry Stackhouse led Dallas with 19 points but was ejected with 13.9 seconds left after getting his second technical of the game.


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