Updates from Saturday, April 12
AZCEntral.com's Paul Coro reports Dragic will give it a go Saturday night:
Goran Dragic will start tonight. He had a good on-court workout with mobility. His playing time will be up to his tolerance. #SunsAtMavs— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) April 12, 2014
Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic didn't play in the team's 112-104 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday due to a sprained left ankle.
The good news is that Dragic may return to action for Saturday's showdown with the Dallas Mavericks, per Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Dragic's health is essential as Phoenix pushes for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Suns are 47-32 on the season and will enter their next game at American Airlines Center tied with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Dallas is just a half-game ahead of both Phoenix and Memphis at 48-32, so this is an untimely injury for Dragic, who has helped the Suns become one of the Association's most surprising success stories in 2013-14.
Even though he was snubbed in not getting an All-Star bid, Dragic's impact has been massive. Matt Petersen of Suns.com noted how Dragic and the other key contributors for Phoenix had been playing well entering the Spurs game:
Dragic/Bledsoe/Green/Tucker have combined for over 80ppg over last 3gms. Goran's out, need someone else to step up. #SunsAtSpurs— Matt Petersen (@TheMattPetersen) April 12, 2014
There will be no lack of effort on Dragic's end to play through the pain, per The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro:
I was never a strategic guy. If I can play, I just want to play. If I could play (Friday) and it doesn't matter as much as (Saturday's game), I'd still play. It's bad timing for sure. I'm going to feel some pain for sure for the next week but I've already played with pain so it's nothing new.
The fact that Phoenix was able to put up 104 points in San Antonio without its leading scorer is a positive sign, and the Mavericks are 20th in the league in yielding 102.5 points per contest. It should be a high-scoring game in Dallas, so it was savvy for the Suns to sit Dragic on Friday against the West's best team.
Dragic is showing a lot of heart in his comments, vowing to do all in his power to hit the hardwood in Dallas despite the severity of his injury. If the Suns do get the eighth seed, a matchup with the Spurs looms ahead. They have to be encouraged by their effort from Friday as it translates to the future.
While anything can happen in a seven-game series, Phoenix's chances of extending its season, reaching the playoffs and thriving upon arriving depend on how close Dragic is to his normal self. He's averaged 20.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season.