Dirk Nowitzki is not necessarily going to be back in the Dallas Mavericks' lineup against the New York Knicks on Monday, but he wants to be. The future Hall of Famer told ESPN's Marc Stein that he's doing on-court work and is hoping he can practice this weekend and return from his Achilles strain as soon as it makes sense:

"It's definitely better, but I really haven't done much yet," Nowitzki told ESPN.com. "Today was good, but we didn't go anything close to full speed. Just started moving on the court a bit.

"We don't want to rush anything and go back to where we were last week. So if I feel anything this weekend, they're going to ease off again. Obviously I want to play in the Garden on Monday [against the Knicks] and I want to play in Boston [on Wednesday] -- two of my favorite road spots. But I just don't know at this point if it's going to happen."

Dirk Nowitzki on the floor
Dirk Nowitzki has played just three games this season. USATSI

Nowitzki hasn't played since last Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers, and for only 16 minutes, deciding to shut it down at halftime. He initially hurt his Achilles in the Mavericks' season opener on Oct. 26 against the Indiana Pacers.

Dallas won't rush the 38-year-old back, but it has to be counting on him boosting its offense when healthy. The Mavs have lost six of their first eight games and are 22nd in offensive efficiency.