Dirk Nowitzki doesn't want to sound any alarms, but he also wants to be realistic.

For the second training camp in a row, his right knee is sore and swollen. Last season, it took nearly two months to get right.

Now, it's back and Nowitzki would not duck the issue about what will happen if this situation lingers.

"We'll see how it responds," he said. "But the longer we wait, obviously the worse it is. If we have to do something, it'd be better to do it quick.

"But we're still hopeful that this is a temporary thing. If we relax and rest it for a week and see how it goes, then we'll have a better idea."

"To do something," means to go in and clean up whatever is inside Nowitzki's knee that is causing the inflammation. Those things that are done to alleviate wear-and-tear problems usually are relatively minor arthroscopic procedures that only require a few weeks of recovery.

But every athlete, especially one like Nowitzki who has never had any structural problem that has required surgery, wants to treat those things as last-resort options.

The problem with his knee started almost as soon as training camp opened on Sept. 29, Nowitzki said.

"There was some swelling already when we started last week and the last two days, it didn't really respond too well," he said.

Nowitzki wanted to play Tuesday in the Mavericks' 99-85 loss to FC Barcelona Regal at Palau St. Jordi. But the swelling would not dissipate.

He said that this year's problem is in the same ballpark with last year's. In the shortened, 66-game season last year, he started very slowly and eventually took four games off to get treatments on the knee and when he returned to action, he did not have any further problems the last three months of the season.