The Mavs will have to get by without Dirk for awhile. (Sue Ogrocki / AP)

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki underwent arthroscopic surgery on Friday to deal with the balky right knee that kept him out of the team’s last three preseason games.

The 34-year-old veteran has been a model of consistency during his 14-year career, and his health deserves nearly as much credit as his silky smooth jumper.

The procedure is Nowtizki’s first operation during his NBA career, and it was one he had hoped to delay until after the 2012-13 season. Instead, the 11-time All-Star will miss approximately six weeks, which could keep him of the court for Dallas’ first 13 regular-season games.

“If it’s going to keep swelling up on me, that’s obviously not a way to go throughout an 82-game season and hopefully long playoff run,” Nowitzki said Monday. He had the troublesome knee drained twice earlier this month, but the inflammation and swelling returned.

Nowitzki was hampered by the injury early last season and despite playing in 62 of the team’s 66 games, he finished the season with his worst scoring (21.6) and rebounding (6.7) averages since the 1999-2000 season.

The Mavericks revamped their roster in the offseason, adding point guard Darren Collison, shooting guard O.J. Mayo and center Chris Kaman to replace Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Brendan Haywood.

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