Infection avoided, Dirk is day to day

DALLAS – The Mavericks’ medical staff feared infection when Rockets forward Carl Landry’s teeth opened up a deep gash on Dirk Nowitzki’s right elbow.

That might have meant surgery for Nowitzki. It definitely would have caused an extended absence for the MVP candidate, who was injured Friday night on a play which resulted in Landry getting called for a foul and suffering significant damage to five teeth.

The worst-case scenario was avoided after a doctor removed pieces of two of Landry’s teeth from Nowitzki’s elbow and thoroughly cleaned the wound.

“We definitely didn’t want that,” Nowitzki said, “so we washed it out for like 30 minutes, closed it up, took X-rays, saw some more stuff and opened it back up, washed it up some more and closed it back up.”

Sound painful? It was. And Nowitzki’s elbow still is extremely sore, which is why he didn’t play in Sunday night’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was obvious that he wasn’t ready when he couldn’t bend or extend his elbow when he tried to shoot jumpers Sunday afternoon.

“I’m on every pill there is, so we’ll just see how it responds tomorrow and kind of take it day by day,” said Nowitzki, who exchanged texts with Landry to make sure there were no hard feelings about the unfortunate play. “I’d love to play. We all know that, but if it’s not Tuesday, then definitely on [Saturday].”