- Michael Wallace, ESPN Staff Writer
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MIAMI -- Injured Miami Heat center Eddy Curry said Wednesday he doesn't believe a hip injury that has sidelined him for all but one full training camp practice is serious enough to jeopardize his chances of making the regular-season roster.
Curry sat out of practice for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, but did return to the court to participate in some shooting and light conditioning drills with the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Curry said he sustained the injury when he landed awkwardly during a team drill in Sunday's practice. He hasn't completed any of the Heat's twice-daily workouts the past three days.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Curry is making progress toward a return to practice, but emphasized that the team is taking a moderate approach with the 10th-year veteran center, who has battled weight and conditioning problems since he entered the league as the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft.
"I'm getting close," Curry said Wednesday of when he might return to practice. "I don't want to overdo it and have any major setbacks. Right now, it's not something that's a huge deal, so I don't want to make it one. I want to come back today. But every day, they're constantly talking to me, telling me, 'Take your time. Just keep doing all the little things to make sure when you do come back, you'll be right.' "
Curry, who signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Heat on Saturday, will miss the team's scrimmage on Thursday night. He expects to be cleared for practice on Saturday and, barring another setback, might be available for Sunday's home preseason opener against the Orlando Magic.
Curry has played just 10 games over the past three seasons, and was traded from New York to Minnesota last season before he was waived by the Timberwolves. Since then, Curry said he's lost about 70 pounds and still needs to drop about 20 more to get in the 300-pound range the Heat were anticipating when training camp opened last week.
"It was really a freak thing, the way it happened," Curry said Wednesday. "But I feel good and I want to get out there. The plan is for Saturday, and then see where it goes from there. Right now, I'm getting some good work in on the bike and in the weight room."
Curry's injury is a microcosm of the Heat's situation at center, where he has a chance to fill a huge void. The team's lone experienced player at the position under a guaranteed contract is Joel Anthony. Second-year center Dexter Pittman, a second-round draft pick, spent much of last season in the NBA Development League.
Miami used its $3 million "mini" mid-level exception to sign forward Shane Battier to a three-year contract and has yet to address it's most glaring need at center, although forwards Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem are expected to split time at both positions.
That could lead to at least some level of job security for Curry -- if he can get healthy and offer even minimum production down low.
Curry said he is anxious to get back on the court to show what he can do, but also is confident the team will give him time to get in better shape and regain his rhythm.
"That's definitely the message from them. Absolutely," Curry said. "But my message to them is that I've got to be ready to go right now. That's what I'm pushing to do as soon as possible."
Michael Wallace is an NBA writer for ESPN.com.