NBA Finals: Dirk’s finger a concern
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011
MIAMI ó Brian Cardinal took one look at Dirk Nowitzkiís injured finger, turned to the Dallas Mavericksí trainer and recommended his treatment plan.
ěCut it at the knuckle,î Cardinal said. ěLike Ronnie Lott.î
Good thing ěDr.î Cardinal is a backup forward whose specialty is comic relief.
Nowitzkiís injury was more source of fun than concern Wednesday, starting from the moment he woke up. He expected the torn tendon at the tip of his left middle finger to be sore and throbbing and it wasnít either.
So only the devilish teasers were even considering a Lott-like amputation of his fingertip.
Nowitzki took the practice court wearing a splint to keep the finger straight and figures itíll be mostly a nuisance for the next month or two. He and shooting coach Holger Geschwindner were planning their own workout later Wednesday to see which moves Nowitzki can and canít make and to come up with ways to compensate, starting with Game 2 of the NBA finals against the Miami Heat on tonight.
ěHey, (Rajon) Rondo played with one arm, so he might be able to play with nine fingers,î Geschwindner said, smiling.
Nowitzki already is experimenting with different bandages. Trainer Casey Smith said, ěWeíre going to make it as small as we can,î and indeed Nowitzkiís wrap at the start of practice was smaller than what he had at a news conference a few minutes before. He was down to a hard splint under the knuckle at the tip of his left middle finger, held on by strips of white tape. The bandage looped around the knuckle and tip, leaving the nail and top exposed.
Nowitzki was hurt trying to strip the ball from Chris Bosh with a little under 4 minutes left in the opener. He knew something serious was wrong because he couldnít straighten the tip. The injury is known as a ěmallet fingerî and generally takes six to eight weeks to heal.
With only quick, courtside treatment, Nowitzki managed to his 1 of 2 shots and all four free throws after the incident. He was 6 of 16 while healthy.
He likes to drive to his left, dribbling hard to get to his favorite shooting spots or taking it all the way to the rim. It also could affect him on defense; donít expect him to swipe down on the ball with the ferocity he did on the play when he was injured.