In 14 years, Dirk Nowitzki has yet to miss more than 10 games in a single season.
The streak remarkable health can only last so long. After attempts to relieve the swelling in his right knee failed, the 11-time All-Star underwent arthroscopic on Friday, likely keeping him out for six weeks.
Nowitzki had his knee drained twice this month, but the swelling returned after a few days, forcing him to miss three of four pre-season games for Dallas and chose to treat the injury now.
If he is out the full six weeks, Nowitzki would miss 13 games, starting with the season opener against the Lakers in Los Angeles.
The injury is a huge set back to a Mavericks, with Nowitzki out, four of five starters are in their first year with the team.
In his absence, Elton Brand, a power forward claimed off an amnesty bid from Philadelphia, will start.
Ever since he led the Mavericks to their first championship in franchise history, claiming Finals MVP honors after averaging 26 points and 9.7 rebounds in six games over the Heat, it has been a struggle for the greatest European player ever to suit up in the NBA.
Following a slow start, as he averaged just 16.9 points and shot over 50 percent from the field just six times in his first 20 games, he sat out four contests, citing fatigue.
Nowitzki averaged 21.6 points, the lowest since 1999-00, shot 45.7 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range while his rebound and assist averages diminished to lows not seen since the beginning of his career.
As their superstar struggled, the rest of the Mavericks did little to carry the offense. Dallas ranked 19th in the league, scoring 95.8 points per game as no other starter averaged 11 points for the year.
Once the post season began, Nowtizki returned to form, averaging 26.8 points and 6.3 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough against the Thunder.
After winning 16 post season games in 2011, Dallas was swept in the opening round by Oklahoma City.
All four players were signed to a one-year contract, hoping to see how each fit alongside Nowitzki.
Aside from his bout with fatigue last season, the only significant injury Nowitzki has experienced since being drafted in 1998 was a sprained knee during the 2003 playoffs.
The Mavericks have to play at least .500 basketball with Nowitzki out of the lineup or risk missing the post season in the extremely competitive Western Conference since 1999-00.
Throughout his career, Nowitzki has overcome tremendous skepticism, changed the perception of international players and proven he can carry a team to the championship.
For the first time ever, the 34-year-old must prove he is capable of coming back from injury.