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Suns’ Goran Dragic improving, game-time decision vs. Nuggets

PHOENIX, Ariz. — While most of his teammates had already left, Goran Dragic stayed behind to work with assistant Jerry Sichting.

The Suns point guard was put through a few more drills, including running full court and taking one-foot jumpers.

The extra work marked the first time Dragic put real pressure on the left ankle since he sprained it early in the third quarter at Oklahoma City Sunday.

“I still have to get my ankle stronger. That’s for sure,” Dragic said after shootaround. “We’ll see [about playing tonight against Denver.] I didn’t have any contact with nobody so it’s a different type of basketball.”

Dragic, who missed the past two games, is officially listed as a game-time decision.

“He says [the ankle] is probably not 100 percent, but he’s a tough kid,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He always wants to try it so we’ll see what happens.”

Dragic would most likely start if he does play “just so he’s loose in warm ups…rather than sitting on the bench and letting [the ankle] get cold,” according to Hornacek. That decision would also send Gerald Green (33 points and 50 percent three-point shooting in two starts) back to the bench.

This is the second time in less than three weeks Dragic has sprained the ankle. He hurt it in the preseason at Sacramento.

“I want to play, but I have to be smart; see what’s best for my ankle,” he said.

Aside from treatment, Dragic mentioned he’s also changed his shoes.

Without him in the lineup, the Suns beat New Orleans and then lost at San Antonio to close out the road trip with a 1-2 record.

“We thought when Goran went down we were in big trouble,” Hornacek said. “But we’ve always told our guys, ‘Be ready. You never know what’s going to happen.’ [Ish Smith and Archie Goodwin] stepped up and did well for us. We feel that we have guys across the board that if somebody does go down, someone can pick it up for them.”

Alex Len, who has not played in the previous three games, is also considered a game time decision. The Suns continue to be cautious with their rookie center as he deals with a sore left ankle following offseason surgery.

The Suns host a Denver Nuggets team coming off its first win of the season, 109-107, at home against the Atlanta Hawks.

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