MIAMI - Brian Cardinal took one look at Dirk Nowitzki's injured finger, turned to the Dallas Mavericks trainer and recommended his treatment plan.
"Cut it at the knuckle," Cardinal said, making a scissors motion with his right hand. "Like Ronnie Lott."
Good thing "Dr." Cardinal is a backup forward whose specialty is comic relief because Nowitzki didn't get this far to have his dream shattered by a finger injury.
So when the Dallas Mavericks play Game 2 of the NBA Finals here Thursday night against the Miami Heat, Nowitzki will try not to let the torn ligament in his left middle finger affect him.
"I don't think it's going to be necessarily bothering me on the shot," Nowitzki said before Wednesday's practice. "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 OK."
Nowitzki took the practice court wearing a splint to keep the finger straight and figures it'll be mostly a nuisance for the next month or two.
Nowitzki was hurt trying to strip the ball from Chris Bosh with a little under 4 minutes left in Tuesday's opener, which the Mavs lost, 92-84.
Nowitzki said that because the problem is on his non-shooting hand, most of what he does will not be affected.
Maybe he should be concerned because Miami knows where he's hurting, and everyone knows how much Nowitzki means to Dallas, it only makes sense that guys are going to swipe at his hands more than ever.
"Somebody's going to swat down on it, whether they want to or not," Bosh said. "It's painful. As ballplayers, we all go through it."
Game 1 of the NBA Finals generated a 10.7 overnight rating on ABC, the most for an opening game in the league's title series since 2004.
The network said that's up 3 percent over the numbers generated by Game 1 of the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics meeting in the Finals last year, and up 15 percent over the opener of the Heat-Mavericks series in 2006.
Miami was the highest-rated metered market with a 31.9 rating. Dallas (29.9) was the market watching second-most, followed by West Palm Beach, San Antonio, Memphis, New Orleans, and Cleveland - the city where James spent his first seven seasons.
MINNEAPOLIS - Ricky Rubio has agreed to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season, ending a two-year negotiation with the team, a person familiar with the agreement confirmed to the Associated Press.