Moving Past Dirk's Injury
Injuries are an unfortunate part of sports.
They happen quickly and have a lasting impact and always strike at a bad time. After waiting five years for another shot at the NBA championship, Dirk Nowitzki, in a moment’s time, tore a tendon in his left middle finger. The injury is to his non-shooting hand, but the injury is certainly going to make the playoff’s most unstoppable player easier to negotiate.
Nowitzki, however, won’t allow the injury to create any doubt.
He knows his hand will be sore and, at times, a little awkward to play with, but it doesn’t change anything. The task is still the same for the Mavericks: win Game 2 and leave Miami with a 1-1 split and they will need to lay better if that’s going to happen.
“I think we've recovered from tough losses these playoffs already,” Nowitzki said. “This is another one. We have to come back and be better.”
“We're a veteran team that's seen a lot in this league. It was a tough loss. It was right there. As poorly as we played on both ends of the floor, I think we were only down four with a couple of minutes left. There are some positives to take out of the game.”
Nowitzki has the right outlook, but his injury will be a major focal point for the series. Still, Nowitzki seems prepared to deal with the pain and complications of the injury and make the necessary adjustments.
“I don't think it's going to be necessarily bothering me on the shot,” he said. “Obviously on the shot you only hold the ball with the left hand. It's not like you do anything crazy with it.
“It's going to be other stuff, dribbling, passing, catching, swiping down, stuff like that. I think it will be okay. Everybody knows, watching me for 13 years, I like to go left and finish with my left. So I'm going to experiment around how the ball handling is going to be. But I'm not really that worried about it. I don't think it's going to be that limiting.”
To assure Nowitzki’s comfort, the Mavericks are planning on trying a few different things to help their star cope before Game 2 and maintain his effectiveness during the crucial game.
“I have this splint on for now,” he said. “I think we're going to play around with some other stuff. Try tape, or try a splint from the back so I can feel the ball and not lose grip of the ball.”
The task of getting Nowitzki ready is difficult because there is no way to prepare for each game situation he’ll see. A situation that will surely arise is how the finger responds to in-game contract. Another is whether the Heat players will target the All-Star’s finger during the game. Heat players maintain they won’t, Nowitzki doesn’t seem concerned if they do.
“I'm really not worried about that much,” he said. “If they do, I have to fight through it. This is not my first injury I've played through in my career. And I'm not really worried about it. I think once the game starts, the adrenaline starts flowing, I don't think it will really slow me down much.”