LeBron, Wade feign illness before game

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki's sinus infection and the ensuing storyline apparently was a source of amusement for Miami Heat superstars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James before Game 5.

As they walked out of American Airlines Center after Thursday morning's shootaround, Wade and James pretended to cough and wheeze, smirking as they repeatedly covered their mouths with their shirts while being filmed by Miami CBS affiliate WFOR.

"Whoa, did y'all hear me cough? I think I'm sick," Wade said before turning toward James and chuckling.

This came two days after Nowitzki scored 21 points, including a critical driving layup in the last minute, while playing with a 101-degree fever during the Dallas Mavericks' NBA Finals-tying Game 4 win.

Given the chance to respond Friday night after the Mavericks landed in Miami, Nowitzki declined comment when reached by ESPN.com.

Wade had already made it clear that he believed the story of Nowitzki playing through illness and injury -- the Mavericks' superstar tore the tendon in his left middle finger in the series opener -- had been overblown.

"I have respect for him as a great player. I'm not going to get into the injuries," Wade said Wednesday. "Everyone is injured at this time. I'm not going to get into the fun-loving story of him being sick, either. Once you show up on the court, you show up on the court. Everyone is equal.

"He's a great player without all the dramatics of the stories that's been going on."

Wade, who once had a shoe commercial that glorified his toughness, is dealing with his own injury now. He suffered a bruised left hip during a first-quarter collision with Dallas reserve forward Brian Cardinal during Miami's Game 5 loss Thursday night, causing him to miss two extended stretches of the game.

"I don't talk about injuries," Wade said after Game 5. "It's unfortunate that I had to leave the game, but I came back and I finished it. ... Once you're on the court, you're on the court. I don't have no excuses."

Nowitzki still had a slight cough Thursday night, but his fever was down and he felt fine while scoring 29 points to help the Mavs take a 3-2 series lead.

"He may not be 100 percent," coach Rick Carlisle said, "but he seemed to be OK."

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.