Goran Dragic can’t keep his face out of harm’s way. Whether it’s getting his teeth knocked out or a swollen right eye after suffering a bruised orbital last night against the Toronto Raptors, the Miami Heat point guard has been known for his toughness in the midst of misfortune in the hardwood.
Teammate Hassan Whiteside couldn’t keep himself from noticing, and fittingly called him “Drago” — a nod to Capt. Ivan Drago, the towering Soviet Union opponent of boxer Rocky Balboa in the popular 1985 film Rocky IV.
“I call him Drago,” Whiteside told Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post. “I said ‘Rocky got you tonight.’”
While he easily could have been “Rocky” instead of Drago, Dragic’s Slovenian roots and having been nicknamed as “The Dragon” in prior NBA seasons, make this a perfect variant of his already popular alias.
“I sprinted back (on) defense and Cory Joseph tried to do a Eurostep, but he threw the elbows up and he hit me in the eye,” Dragic said of his injury. “Nothing special.”
The Heat are chasing a red-hot Milwaukee Bucks (winners of six straight), who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Dragic traveled to Indiana with the team despite suffering the injury, and his availability will be a game-time call, according to how his range of vision progresses close to game time.