NBA Finals 2011: Mavericks' Brendan Haywood Back in Action Despite Hip Injury
Hulking Center Brendan Haywood Could Resume Contributing in 2011 NBA Finals
Brendan Haywood isn’t what you’d call an irreplaceable player off the Dallas Mavericks’ bench. After all, Dallas’ three wins in the NBA Finals have come with Haywood playing a grand total of 11 minutes.
Though he’s still battling the hip flexor strain that limited him to three minutes and two DNPs in three games in Dallas, Haywood told ESPN Dallas that he’s “going to give it a shot” to play in Game 6. As well as Dallas has played without him, they’ll breathe a little easier if Haywood is available for tonight’s contest.
Since Haywood’s Game 2 injury, starting center Tyson Chandler has been forced to log over 40 minutes in a game twice. That kind of workload is a lot to ask of anybody not named Wilt Chamberlain, especially on a Dallas team that’s been accustomed to frequent substitutions during the season.
Haywood is exactly what you’d expect in Chandler’s backup: a poor man’s version of Chandler, contributing defense and rebounding (if little scoring) and keeping the defensive energy up when Chandler rests. Just as importantly, Haywood gives Dallas six more fouls to expend underneath, should they be needed.
Thanks to Dwyane Wade, Haywood’s won’t even be the most-scrutinized hip in Miami tonight. Nevertheless, if he does return, he gives Dallas a markedly improved chance to close out the series.
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