Goran Dragic ‘hoping’ back injury does not force him to miss extended period of time

Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic drives against Lakers' Luol Deng in the first quarter of the Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)

Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic drives against Lakers’ Luol Deng in the first quarter of the Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)

BOSTON — Goran Dragic admits playing through back pain in Thursday’s loss to the Hornets probably wasn’t the smartest decision.

“I feel like I shouldn’t have played [Thursday],” Dragic said before Friday’s game in Boston “But I gave it a go, so I think it’s smarter to get better and not to hurt the team like that — to be on the court and not moving well.”

So the Heat’s starting point guard missed Friday’s game against the Celtics and he’s unsure if he’ll play in Sunday’s home game against the Pistons. Dragic is dealing with lingering back soreness after a Euro-step against the Pelicans on Dec. 23 resulted in back spasms.

The 30-year-old has felt back pain ever since. Dragic is hopeful this injury won’t keep him out for an extended period of time, but he also can’t rule that possibility out.

“I’m hoping not,” Dragic said when asked if his back injury could force him to miss a string of games. “The back is kind of tricky. The only thing that I can say is I’ll go day-by-day and see how I’m going to feel.”

When Dragic tried to play through the pain Thursday in Charlotte, he wasn’t as effective as usual. He finished with five points on 2-of-11 shooting, three rebounds and eight assists in 32 minutes.

Dragic, who leads the NBA with 14.1 drives to the basket per game, drove to the basket 11 times against the Hornets. He converted just one of those drives into a made basket.

Various injuries have forced Dragic to miss seven games this season. The Heat are 1-6 without him.

Dragic is averaging 18.8 points on 44.9 percent shooting and 6.7 assists this season.

“It is hard,” Dragic said Friday of missing games. “I want to be there. That’s why I played last night. It was not the smartest choice on my part, but I want to be there. I wanted to be with my team and my teammates to battle for them. It’s not easy when you sit out and you don’t do the job that you love.”

[Erik Spoelstra pleased with Heat’s progress despite 10-24 record]

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