Will Dirk Nowitzki be 100 percent healthy for Game 5?

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 8, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 8 at 5:35 PM

DALLAS — Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points in Game 4 of the NBA finals, despite running a 101 degree fever.

At the post-game press-conference, a coughing, wheezing Nowitzki blamed his sudden fever and fatigue on a "little sinus infection."

"It was like 101 this morning," Nowitzki said, describing waking up with a fever on Tuesday. "I didn't really have a good night's rest. So I was just under the weather a little bit, but just battle it out."

Health experts say people really don't develop sinus infections overnight.

"That sounds viral to me," said Texas Health Dallas Dr. Michael Ruff, a specialist in allergies and sinus conditions. "But then, viral infections can predispose you to getting a secondary bacterial infection."

Dr. Ruff said people commonly confuse a sinus infection for a cold virus. While nose colds can lead to sinus infections, it typically takes days.

Here's how it works:

  • Sinus passages swell shut, trapping mucous in the cavities.
  • As a result, bacteria can accumulate in sinus cavities, causing an infection.
  • Antibiotics can help clear up an infection, but they do not affect viruses.
  • An antibiotic would take 48 to 72 hours to kick in.

Either way, the symptoms can make anyone feel crummy.

"It would greatly affect an athlete's play, because one you're lethargic and you're fatigued and you have drainage," Dr. Ruff said. "You can't breathe well through your nose, and you just become dehydrated more easily. You don't have much energy, you have a headache, and I'm sure you don't feel well, so I really admire the gumption of someone fighting through that last night."

Treatment options include decongestants, nasal sprays, plenty of fluids, and rest.

"I'll be all right on Thursday," Nowitzki promised.  "I'll hopefully get some sleep tonight, take some meds and be ready to go on Thursday."

But, with only a day to rest before Game 5, No. 41 may not have time to get well soon.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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