At about six this morning, Phoenix Suns backup point guard Goran Dragic said he got up from bed to go to the bathroom. He stepped on some glass that was on the floor of his Scottsdale home and ended up with nine stitches in his left foot near the big toe. Dragic is officially a scratch for tonight's game versus the New Orleans Hornets but will likely miss up to five games.
Dragic was at the Suns shootaround this morning still wearing the hospital wrist band from his visit to the emergency room and he showed me a picture of his mangled big toe which he said still had glass in it when he was treated. He promised that he will be wearing slippers at home from now on.
The injury to Dragic is just the kind of opportunity that Zabian Dowdell has been waiting for. On his second 10-day contract with the Suns, Dowdell is confident that he will play well.
"That's how it is. I knew coming in that I was one injury away from having to stepping in, so here I am," Dowdell said.
"It definitely is a big opportunity any time you get a chance to step out on the floor. I just want to come in and keep the ship afloat. If I get in and things go south fast, that would be bad. I just want to try and control the game, control the pace and just run the team."
Dowdell considers himself a defense-first point guard who can control the offense and make some plays. He's generally not considered a great shooting guard and in my experience watching him in two summer league stints with the Suns he doesn't have the finishing ability of a Dragic but he's a steady presence who doesn't make mistakes.
Zabian, 26, is a four-year product of Virginia Tech with a couple years of experience playing overseas. He's a confident and solid player who will have a chance to show fans and executives from around the league what he can do. With the opportunity to play over the next several games, this is a big moment for him.
"I can run the team. I can get in the lane. I can find guys. I'm just going to look to be a threat, you know. Be aggressive and not be passive looking to other guys to make things happen," he said about his approach tonight.
Zabian played against Chris Paul in college and also against Hornet's backup point guard Jarrett Jack. He's spending the rest of the day studying the scouting reports and watching film in preparation for his big moment.
Suns Coach Alvin Gentry doesn't know what kind of production to expect from Dowdell but he's certain the third-string point guard will play without fear.