PHOENIX — Erring on the side of caution, the Phoenix Suns will not play point guard Goran Dragic against Oklahoma City Tuesday.
He’s likely to miss the game at Denver Wednesday as well.
Dragic is still recovering from a sprained left ankle he suffered on the road in Sacramento last Thursday.
“I think he’s getting better,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We don’t want to rush him back. If it’s still sore and playing is going to aggravate it more, then for me there’s no sense of playing at this stage. We have five days off after these (final) two (preseason) games.”
Dragic had his left foot stepped on by the Kings’ Jimmer Fredette as he was driving to the basket on a fast break early in the third quarter. A foul was called, but Dragic didn’t shoot the free throws as he was unable to put any weight on the ankle. He had to be assisted off the court and helped back to the bench.
Dragic, who is leading the team in points (12.6) and is second behind Eric Bledsoe in assists (3.4), missed his third straight day of practice Monday. He was allowed to do some limited set-shooting and began running on the anti-gravity treadmill.
Given the amount of basketball Dragic played in the offseason representing the Slovenian national team, missing a preseason game or two shouldn’t affect him much, if at all.
“I played the whole summer so I’m in that conditioning. I had so many games that, for me, I would say it doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s always nice to have one preseason game before the season starts. Of course I would like to see how my ankle is going to react and try to play hard.”
Added Hornacek, “These games are nice to look at things and try to get in a rhythm of our rotations, but we have five days after this where we can really focus on the little things and I’d rather have him there for that.”
With Dragic sidelined, that will mean increased playing time for both Kendall Marshall and Ish Smith. The two are battling to be included in the rotation at backup point guard.
“We have to continue to start focusing for that first game,” Hornacek said. “We can’t continue experimenting through the regular season so we’ll have to get down to something.”
The Suns open the regular season a week from Wednesday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers.