MIAMI -- Dallas Mavericks backup center Brendan Haywood backed off Saturday's declarative statement that he will test his ailing right hip in tonight's Game 6 against the Miami Heat. Prior to Sunday morning's shootaround, Haywood was definitive only in that he will be a game-time decision.
"I feel a little better, but it's one of those situations where you feel better doing things that aren't basketball related," Haywood said. "It's something totally different when you're trying to chase down one of the NBA's elite athletes or you're trying to trap D-Wade or something like that. That's a totally different ballgame and your hip responds differently to those type of motions."
Haywood strained his right hip flexor prior to the NBA Finals and aggravated it in Game 2. He missed Game 3, played just three minutes in Game 4 and sat out Game 5.
The Mavs' centers have been asked to be quite active defensively in this series with high traps on Dwyane Wade and Tyson Chandler and then being able to drop down to defend the paint and rebound.
Starting center Tyson Chandler will be prepared to play 40-plus minutes, and third-string center Ian Mahinmi will be on call. He has played in two games during Haywood's absence, logging eight minutes each time.
Meanwhile, Haywood will spend the afternoon doing whatever he can to get on the floor.
"It's definitely frustrating because you're not 100 percent at a time when you want to be and a very important moment of your career," Haywood said. "But you've just got to play the cards that you're given. You can't change them."