Brendan Haywood knows Dirk Nowitzki's pain

MIAMI -- Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood sustained the same finger injury as Dirk Nowitzki did in Tuesday's Game 1 late last season.

"I thought I dislocated it, but then it was just like the tip of my finger wouldn’t move," Haywood said. "It’s like the ligament goes dead in there."

The difference is Haywood tore a tendon in the middle finger of his right hand, his shooting hand. Nowitzki was fortunate enough to tear a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand so his shooting shouldn't be affected much if at all. Nowitzki injured his finger attempting to strip Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh of the ball with 3:44 to go in the game.

Haywood said it is encouraging that Nowitzki made all four free throws he took as well as a 16-foot jumper after the injury and never had to leave the game. Haywood said the finger could still cause problems in other areas.

"The only thing it might affect is grabbing rebounds," Haywood said, "because you don’t really have command of your hand that you normally would."

Nowitzki expressed some concern about his ability to drive left, his preferred direction, and finishing with his left hand. Haywood said he couldn't provide Nowitzki with much help there.

"I hope it’s not, but it’s a possibility," Haywood said. "I don’t dribble the ball as much so I didn’t get a chance to test that aspect out."