Foot pain forces Dragic to sit out

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Palm Beach (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Ira Win­der­man South Florida Sun Sentinel

MI­AMI — Some­times the treat­ment proves more trou­ble­some than the in­jury. And some­times the lack of a Plan B pro­vides a win­dow in to the com­po­si­tion of a ros­ter.

Both were at play for Satur­day night’s game against the At­lanta Hawks, with Mi­ami Heat point guard Go­ran Dragic side­lined by on­go­ing dis­com­fort in his right foot.

The ini­tial plan, after two days away from the prac­tice court, was for Dragic to re­turn to Satur­day morn­ing’s shootaround. In­stead, he was held out of that ses­sion and ruled out for Satur­day’s game, with the hope for a re­turn Mon­day against the Detroit Pis­tons, on the fi­nal stop of this three-game trip.

“He was go­ing to,” coach Erik Spoel­stra said of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the shootaround, “but it just still was tender. We looked at him and told him to sit it out. Jay [Sabol, the Heat trainer] and I made the de­ci­sion, ‘Let’s give it an­other day or two.’ ”

Dragic re­ceived a cor­ti­sone shot Wed­nes­day after play­ing in backto-back losses Mon­day against the Sacra­mento Kings and Tues­day against the Char­lotte Hor­nets.

“It’s calmed down a lit­tle bit, but it’s still sore,” he said Satur­day. “It’s ba­si­cally the area where the cor­ti­sone shot is, there is not a lot cush­ion. It’s straight into the joint. That’s prob­a­bly why it’s so sore still.”

Dragic, 32, said the pain is pro­nounced while he is run­ning.

“I feel like it’s frus­trat­ing,” he said, “but just need to think about the fu­ture. So it’s still sore, so hope­fully go day by day and see what hap­pens.”

Spoel­stra said the team would re­visit the sit­u­a­tion Sun­day in Detroit.

“We just want to get an­other day, see how he feels,” he said.

Dragic is the lone true point guard on the ros­ter, with the team by­pass­ing a se­cond such op­tion be­cause of the ball­han­dling and play­mak­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of Jus­tise Winslow, Tyler John­son, Josh Richard­son and Dwyane Wade, as well as side­lined Dion Waiters and James John­son. Among those re­leased by the Heat at the end of train­ing camp was de­fen­sive­minded point guard Bri­ante We­ber.

“We have a lot of ball han­dlers,” Spoel­stra said. “If any­thing, our ros­ter has as much depth with ball han­dling and play­mak­ing as any con­ven­tional team would with spe­cific point guards.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, the league is chang­ing. It re­ally is be­com­ing less po­si­tion ori­ented. I’m hav­ing enough chal­lenges get­ting the ball spread around to guys. It seems like half of my ros­ter wants to bring the ball up and ini­ti­ate of­fense. So when Go­ran is out, it will give other guys op­por­tu­ni­ties to do that. But that ex­tends to our front­court. We have front­court play­ers that also han­dle the ball quite a bit.”

Dragic pre­vi­ously said he has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the pain since train­ing camp. He said he ini­tially was told the pain from the cor­ti­sone shot would “calm down” in 48 hours. He said an MRI taken last month came back nega­tive. He missed seven games last sea­son: three with a sore left el­bow, two with a bruised left knee, one with a sprained right an­kle and one with a sore knee.

G League suc­cess: The Heat’s G League af­fil­i­ate, the Sioux Falls Sky­force, opened their sea­son Fri­day night with a 112-101 vic­tory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants that in­cluded con­tri­bu­tions from sev­eral play­ers who spent time in camp with the Heat.

Both of the un­drafted for­wards on Heat two -way con­tracts started. Yante Maten closed with 20 points and six re­bounds, with Dun­can Robin­son fin­ish­ing with15 points, in­clud­ing three 3-point­ers.

We­ber, who started at point guard, filled the box score with 18 points, eight steals, eight as­sists and six re­bounds.

Heat general man­ager Andy Elis­burg and Heat vice pres­i­dent of player per­son­nel Adam Si­mon at­tended.

“It was cool to see a lot of guys in­volved in that win, a lot of con­tri­bu­tions,” Spoel­stra said. “For any team in any league at any level to be re­ally suc­cess­ful it’s go­ing to re­quire some sac­ri­fice. There’s a lot of ta­lent on that team. A lot of guys with big as­pi­ra­tions.

“To get what every­one wants, it’s all about the suc­cess of the team and giv­ing to the team. That was a good start.”

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