The Miami Heat continues to move closer to full health.
Derrick Jones Jr. and Wayne Ellington returned to practice Tuesday and are questionable for Wednesday’s home preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Jones has missed the past two games with a bruised right shoulder and Ellington has missed the Heat’s first four preseason games with a sore left ankle.
Both are hopeful they will play Wednesday.
“That’s the plan. It felt good today in practice,” Ellington said Tuesday when asked if he’ll make his preseason debut against the Pelicans. “I got my normal extra work in afterward and everything feels good.”
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For Jones, he’s ready to start using his elite leaping ability again after taking a hard fall on a tip-in attempt in last week’s preseason loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
“The fall happened. I got over it,” Jones said Tuesday. “I’m not really worried about that no more. I’m only worried about the next day and trying to get better for my teammates.”
Jones’ athleticism was on display in Tuesday’s practice.
“What’s amazing is obviously the sheer athleticism, but the fearlessness that comes with it,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He had four or five plays today that were very similar, not where he fell, but he’s making that type of jump, a leap. You would think a player would have that somewhere in the back of his mind, but that’s how he’s wired and wants to express himself athletically and aggressively, and I love it.”
That’s the good news for the Heat. The bad news is starting point guard Goran Dragic has been added to the injury report after banging knees with a Magic player in Monday’s win.
Dragic is questionable for Miami’s game against New Orleans.
James Johnson (sports hernia surgery) and Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery) will miss their fifth consecutive preseason game Wednesday. Spoelstra said Waiters is unlikely to be ready for the Oct. 17 season-opener against the Magic, but the team hasn’t ruled out Johnson yet.
“He’s been right on track,” Spoelstra said of Johnson. “This is where we thought he would be. … He hasn’t had any setbacks. He’s been getting stronger, better every week.”