Heat’s Goran Dragic speaks about his knee injury
Goran Dragic’s lingering right knee injury will keep him off the court for the Miami Heat until at least next week.
After missing three of the Heat’s past seven games with the injury, Dragic had fluid drained from his knee Monday. The procedure will keep Dragic off the court Tuesday when Miami faces the Brooklyn Nets at AmericanAirlines Arena and will also keep him from joining the team on its upcoming two-game road trip. The Heat will then re-evaluate the guard when the team returns to Miami on Nov. 27 for a home game against the Atlanta Hawks.
“Every game I could not move well. It’s not a pain, but you just have that feeling that you cannot move well, that something is in,” Dragic said after the Heat practiced Monday in Miami. “It’s just like a bubble. It’s tough. It’s over now.”
Dragic initially injured the knee Nov. 5 in a win against the Detroit Pistons. The Heat held the 32-year-old out for the next two games before bringing him back Nov. 10 against the Washington Wizards. Dragic went scoreless in the loss for the first time since he arrived in Miami in 2015.
He played in four games before sitting out the Heat’s 113-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday and struggled a bit . His per game averages of 28.2 minutes, 12.8 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 turnovers were all worse than his season-long averages of 30.7 minutes, 16.3 points, 4.7 assists and 2.5 assists. His three-point percentage dipped from 32.3 to just 18.2.
As Dragic continued to deal with discomfort, the Heat began to suspect some sort of procedure might be necessary. Rather than moving Dragic in and out of the lineup, Miami (6-10) opted to sideline Dragic a few games to let the All-Star fully recover.
“That’s what we basically had deduced the last few days,” coach Erik Spoelstra said after practice Monday at AmericanAirlines. “We knew it wasn’t serious, but we knew it was something that needed to be taken care of — somewhere in between. Short term, that part was encouraging for all of us, and hopefully we can just take care of it and wipe it out right now.”
Dragic is relieved now to have the discomfort behind him. Even if he won’t be able to help the Heat snap out of its funk against the Nets (7-10) on Tuesday, he hopes he’ll be back to full strength a week later, ready to get Miami through the final 60-plus games of the season.
“We don’t want to do no procedure if it’s not necessary, so, yeah, I was relieved it’s just a fluid. They took the fluid out this morning and from there on I need to rest a little bit,” Dragic said. “You’re always concerned when you don’t feel right.”
NBA fines Josh Richardson for shoe toss
Josh Richardson’s first career ejection also earned him a fine from the league office. NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe announced Monday the league fined Richardson $25,000, “for throwing his shoe into the spectator stands.”
Richardson’s ejection came with 6:31 remaining in the Heat’s loss to the Lakers on Sunday. The wing guard drove to the basket with contact and was frustrated when there was no call, despite his left sneaker coming off. After being called for his fifth foul on the other end, Richardson came to the bench and tossed the loose sneaker into the crowd, earning an immediate ejection.
“I think it was just in the moment what happened. It was just kind of a little series of events throughout the game that happened that I was not happy with,” Richardson said after practice Monday, before he learned of the fine. “I can’t really do anything about it at this point, so, yeah, I’ll just learn from it.”
Heat hosts annual Thanksgiving Celebration
Practice wrapped up a bit earlier than usual Monday, but the day wasn’t done for some members of the organization. When Miami finished up at AmericanAirlines, a contingent of players headed about a mile northwest to the Miami Rescue Mission for the Heat’s 27th annual Thanksgiving Celebration.
At the celebration, Spoelstra, Richardson and post player Udonis Haslem served residents of the Overtown neighborhood a hot Thanksgiving-style meal, while the rest of the team handed out canned goods and frozen turkeys ahead of the Thursday holiday. The celebration also featured live music, performances from Heat dancers and activities for kids.
The annual charity event is always particularly meaningful to Haslem, who grew up in Miami and has played the entirety of his NBA career with the Heat.
“Every time we bring in new guys, I always try to bring them to the other side and let them experience a different part of Miami that maybe they haven’t seen or heard about, or they might not even understand becaue these people are true, true Miami Heat fans, as well,” the post player said at the charity event Monday. “For us to come over here and just take a couple minutes out of our day to spend some time with the people to show we care, it goes a long way.”
▪ There’s still no timetable for Dwyane Wade’s return, but Spoelstra said he’s constantly in contact with the guard and the 12-time All-Star should return “soon.”
▪ Dion Waiters, meanwhile, continues to make progress, although there is also no timetable for the wing’s return, Spoelstra said.