The Imps of Injury aren't done with us yet.
Game against Houston on Friday night. Whilst contesting a shot, Carl Landry and Dirk Nowitzki collided. Dirk's arm slammed into Landry's mouth. The impact punched Landry's incisors through his mouth guard and broke them off in Dirk's arm just below the elbow. Landry lost five teeth and went to the hospital to have his mouth rebuilt. Dirk dashed back to the locker room after splitting free throws. He sat out on Saturday's game versus Cleveland.
Tim Thomas got the call to start at power forward. You show me anybody who seriously though Dallas would win this one, I'll show you a good liar. Everybody wrote this one off. Tactical retreat -- Cleveland's not in our division, nobody's going to blame the guys for losing to LeBron and Company without Dirk.
Um . . . yeah. LeBron might be the best player in the league, heir apparent to His Holiness The Jordan, and well on the road to becoming A Global Brand (his words, not mine). On Sunday night, he wasn't good enough -- 25 points, 9-23 shooting. And he couldn't make his team good enough -- three rebounds, six assists, two turnovers, zero clutch plays.
I couldn't watch this game because I had to be in McKinney. All I caught was the last ninety seconds. The enduring image is Shawn Marion driving to the basket, and Anderson Varejao hitting the deck at Marion's feet doing his best impersonation of a speed bump. Marion hopped up and over Varejao's body, put the ball in the basket, and landed neatly on the floor on Varejao's other side. Love it.
Mavericks, with cunning, cuteness, slump-busting (team should throw a Welcome Back party for Jason Terry's jump shot), good team defense, and a little bit of luck, kicked the shit out of the Cleveland Cavaliers. And we did it without our big guy.
Basketbawful's taking his usual potshots at Dirk's physical toughness. I enjoy his blog and I value his opinions . . . but BTFU. A bite wound is not the same as cutting yourself while peeling an apple in bed, particularly when the doctor spends half and hour fishing around making sure there aren't any other toothy bits embedded in the tissue. The biggest concern isn't the actual trauma; it's infection.
If he had to, Dirk would play through anything. His will over pain is beyond question. The Mavericks do not want, and cannot afford, having the big guy in the hospital dealing with a case of septic shock. Remember NYPD Blue? Bobby Simone dying because of an infection he got from a knife cut? That's not bullshit, and bites are dirtier.
Right now Dirk's on painkillers and a shitload of antibiotics and has probably been instructed not to move his arm around much. If he fucks with it it won't heal right, and that's his shooting arm.
The Cloudy Crystal Ball says he'll probably sit out Tuesday's game against Portland and be back (knock on wood) on Saturday.
Not saying it yet. Still too much we don't know.
How can a Mavs fan be anything but optimistic after last night?
Check back with me the morning of January 4th. That's after an Away game at Denver on December 27th, another game in Houston, and an Away game against the (presumably) Gasol-centered Lakers.