Originally written on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 1/23/12
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If there's an NBA story I never expected to read, it's that Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki became so tired of playing basketball that he failed to get in proper shape for the start of this season. But that's exactly what the greatest European player of all-time and one of the league's most celebrated gym rats told us this past week. It's even led normally sane NBA observers to wonder if Nowitzki, at age 33, has suddenly hit the proverbial wall. But no matter where you stand, it had to raise some eyebrows when Mavs coach Rick Carlisle and the team's medical staff decided to remove the 7-footer from the lineup for a four-game stretch to allow him a chance to improve his conditioning, as well as his ailing knee. The fact that Nowitzki didn't put up much of a fight tells you the gravity of the situation. This season was supposed to be about whether the Mavs could somehow compensate for the loss of free agents Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea. Nowitzki's brilliance has been such a co...
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