Shawn Marion plays with bad finger

Updated: March 29, 2011, 3:50 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

Shawn Marion continues to play at a high level for the Dallas Mavericks -- with a severely dislocated left pinkie finger that the small forward has no plans on fixing this season or thereafter. The left pinkie was bent to its current state of grotesqueness earlier this season, but Marion can't remember exactly when or how it happened.

Shawn Marions Finger
Jeff Caplan/ESPNDallas.comShawn Marion can't remember the first time he dislocated the pinkie on his left hand. He said it doesn't affect his ballhandling.

"Just got it hit," Marion said. "Next thing you know, I looked down, I was like, 'Damn.' You know what? I got hit last year, too, in a game, and it kind of hurt a little bit, but I still played through it; just taped it up. Then got hit again this year. It is what it is. I know it was at home, though because [Mavs owner Mark] Cuban noticed it, too. He said, 'Oh s---.' I'm not going to be a hand model. It's OK.

"It's facing 10 o'clock."

It hasn't slowed Marion down as the Mavericks continue to battle the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Marion, who recently took over as the Mavs' starter after mainly coming off the bench for the first time in his career, is averaging 12.1 points -- 15.0 over the last 10 games -- and 6.8 rebounds this season.

In fact, he said it doesn't affect him when he goes to his left hand to dribble or float one of his running hooks. He shrugged off the seemingly minute-to-minute potential of having it jerked to 9 o'clock, or worse, if it gets snagged on an opposing player's jersey or crunched by a renegade basketball.

"It doesn't hurt; maybe if I bend it a certain way or something [it hurts]," Marion said as he bent and pulled and squished his pinkie as if it was made of rubber. "I got full rotation. The doctor's like, 'What are you going to do?' You look at X-rays and it's sticking off to the left, but at the same time I've got full rotation. What more do you want me to do?

"I'm good with it."

Marion said he has no plan to have the finger straightened out.

He said the finger has countless times been snagged, dragged, jammed and jimmied -- so many times that the knuckle is permanently the size of a lopsided acorn. Over time, with each fresh knock, the finger continued to tick to the left like a slow-moving clock hand, only counter-clockwise.

"When did I first mess this up?" he asked himself. "When I was little, maybe. I think when I was little. Yeah, when I was little, dislocated it. Maybe 9 or 10 [years old]. I probably was playing basketball or soccer or like kickball or something -- dodge ball. I don't remember. I know I was playing some kind of sport with a ball. Football. It was football, playing catch."

While Marion may not remember, his snapped pool cue of a pinkie finger has etched itself into the memories of his teammates. Only recently, with Marion smarting from bruised ribs and a sprained right wrist that evoked conversations of pain threshold, did it suddenly become a prominent talking point in the Mavericks' locker room.

"It's crazy," said second-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois, who occupied the locker next to Marion after Saturday's game against the Jazz. "When I see it, I feel bad."

Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.

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