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At this point, I think we can safely say that Goran Dragic's face is an elbow magnet.
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Late in the second quarter of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors, Dragic found himself tasked with trying to slow down a Raptor break. He chose to do so by stepping in the path of Toronto All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan, who tried to steer around him with a Euro-step that ... well, didn't quite get clear of the stationary defender:
Most amazing: despite the primary contact on the play being DeRozan's right elbow smashing Dragic in the face, it was the Heat player who was called for a blocking foul, his third of the opening half. Talk about adding insult to the very evident injury of bleeding from the mouth as you walk off the court.
Actually, that's not the most amazing part. Really, it's that this is the third time this season that Dragic has found himself on the business end of some inadvertent, but still quite painful, chop-bustin'.
There was this December de-toothing at the
hands elbows of Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford:
And, just last month, another courtesy of Detroit Pistons guard Spencer Dinwiddie:
This, it seems, is the Slovenian triggerman's curse — he leads with his chin on both ends of the floor, and his face winds up having to foot the bill.
Dragic ran through his laundry list of facial injuries during a chat with reporters earlier this week, according to Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
"I've lost five teeth," he says.
He pushes his nose to the left.
"It was way over here — four bones broken in it," he says. "I was 16. Even now, when you look at me straight on, my nose goes to the side."
"It's funny, I've got a lot but only on the left side of my face," he says. "Four, five, six stitches at a time. Only one really bad one. I bumped heads with Mo Williams in Portland …"
He runs a finger down a faded scar above his left eye.
" … and needed 13 stitches outside and eight inside."
So the black eye Dragic received Tuesday night in the Game 1 win against Toronto? Dragic didn't even know when he got it. Nor does he really care.
"If I don't have a black eye, I'm not really playing," he said.
Well, the Heat's medical staff can certainly attest to the fact that Dragic was playing on Thursday night:
Naturally, though, a few teeth through the lip can't keep a good Dragon down. It just means he needs a bandage.
Just another one for Goran's weird, weird list. Keep your head on a swivel out there, huh?
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