MIAMI – Heat point guard Goran Dragic will travel today with the hopes of playing Thursday in Charlotte.
Dragic missed Miami’s 106-94 home loss to Oklahoma City Tuesday because of back spasms. He run during Wednesday’s practice, though not full speed, and spent at least 30 minutes shooting at three-quarter speed following the workout.
“It feels good,” Dragic said. “I couldn’t bend (Tuesday). I’m here early trying to do treatment every day. It’s getting better.
When asked for the chances he could return after missing just one game, Dragic said. “I don’t know because the back you don’t know how it’s going to react. I feel fine now. I still didn’t do full speed so that’s going to worry me.
“Hopefully, the back will react nicely.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra said the team will take the same approach as it has with many of the recent injuries. Barring a setback, Dragic will participate in shoot around Thursday morning and if he feels better then will warm up with hopes of facing the Hornets.
The Heat (10-22) then play at Boston on Friday before returning home for their first game of the New Year, Jan. 1 against Detroit.
Miami definitely will be without Dion Waiters (groin) and Josh McRoberts (foot). Miami has lost 127 player games to injuries, including Chris Bosh.
Josh Richardson moved over to point guard in Dragic’s place had his best game of the season with 22 points (equaling his career high), five rebounds and three assists. He shot 9-of-16.
“It was kind of tough for him with all these injuries back and forth,” Dragic said about Richardson, who has missed 10 games this season because of various injuries.
“Now, he’s playing better. The last game he played really well. He’s improving. He still needs to put people in the right positions.”
Dragic, who leads the Heat with 19.3 points and 6.6 assists, said the injury occurred eight days ago against Orlando and then was “tweaked” Friday in New Orleans when he went to do a Euro-step.
The game against the Thunder marked the sixth he has missed this season, three because of an ankle sprain and two due to a strained elbow.
“I want to be there every night helping my team,” he said. “Nobody wants to sit out and watch the game. I’m a professional. I want to play. Sometimes, injuries happen. You have to be careful.”