Miami Heat

As Miami Heat continues to struggle, Goran Dragic’s knee becomes an issue once again

Heat’s Goran Dragic speaks about his knee injury

Heat’s Goran Dragic speaks about the right knee injury he’s currently dealing with.
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Heat’s Goran Dragic speaks about the right knee injury he’s currently dealing with.

The Miami Heat’s slow start to the season has been driven in large part by its injury woes. Dion Waiters still hasn’t played. James Johnson just made his debut Sunday in Miami’s 113-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at AmericanAirlines Arena. Wayne Ellington and Goran Dragic have both missed multiple games.

The Dragic injury has become particular concerning. An All-Star for the first time last season, Dragic continues to battle a right knee injury and sat out Sunday for the fourth time in nine games. The extended length of pain in the guard’s knee has now reached a point at which Miami is ready to re-evaluate Dragic, even after an earlier MRI came back negative.

“We’ll find out. We’re going to re-evaluate him tomorrow and have those kind of discussions,” coach Erik Spoelstra said at his pregame news conference in Miami. “We felt like it was something we could get under control. There are no absolutes in this league and every case is different, and his knee hasn’t responded the way any of us had hoped. When you’re playing games constantly and you’re as competitive as Goran, he wants to be there for his team.”

Without Dragic, the Heat (6-10) started Josh Richardson at point guard, and used Rodney McGruder and Ellington as the starting wings. Miami finished with 20 assists and committed 12 turnovers in the lopsided loss to the Lakers. It was only the third time this season the Heat recorded 20 or fewer assists.

Still, Dragic has been noticeably limited even when he’s been on the court since suffering the injury. He returned from a two-game absence Nov. 10 and went scoreless for the first time since he joined Miami in 2015. He played 34 minutes in a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday — his most since October — but still only attempted eight shots, then sat out against the Lakers (9-7) a game later.

The 32-year-old is averaging 16.3 points, 4.7 assists and 2.5 assists in 12 games this season.

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