It’s a fairly well-understood rule of thumb in these NBA Finals: for the Mavericks to have any sort of chance at winning this thing, Dirk Nowitzki needs to have a monster, all-time type of performance throughout the series.
For that to happen, it would help if the big German was completely healthy.
Dirk doesn’t sound too concerned about the injury; he says that he’ll wear a splint for the remainder of the series.
From the Star-Telegram:
With 3:44 remaining in the game, Chris Bosh came barreling down the lane and Nowitzki thought he got a clean swipe at the ball. Nowitzki was whistled for a foul on the play, and Bosh buried the two free throws to provide the Heat with a 79-73 lead. Nowitzki, however, wound up tearing a tendon in his left middle finger on the play, although he did not leave the game. X-rays were negative and Nowitzki plans to wear a splint on the finger on his non-shooting hand for the duration of this series.
“It was just a freaky play,” Nowitzki said. “Bosh got a bounce pass and I stepped in. I thought I stripped him clean and then I kind of looked down and I couldn’t straighten my finger out any more. So I tore a tendon in there.” Nowitzki, though, is optimistic the injury won’t affect him the rest of this series. “I guess it will be all right,” he said. “I have to wear a splint probably for the rest of the playoffs – for a couple of weeks – but I will be all right. It’s on my left hand, so I’ll be all right for Thursday.”
The Mavs shot a Playoff-worse 37% from the field in the series’ opening game, and their celebrated bench was completely taken out by the Miami Heat’s defense.
When asked about Dirk’s injury, LeBron James dismissed the idea that it will slow him down, and James is probably right. What remains to be seen is if Nowitzki’s teammates will show up when it matters most the rest of the way.