Once again, another game for the Miami Heat this season where the team is stretched beyond thin. Their win against the Portland Trail Blazers was quite necessary knowing that coming out of the Northwest with a loss would have put them in negative footing in their prospect of staying within the top four in the Eastern Conference.
That being said, the Heat know that once against they will have to contend with the biggest problem that has them swimming against the current all season long- injuries and COVID protocol.
On late Friday afternoon, the Heat released their list of unavailable players and it was longer than the list of those that could.
Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald listed the 11 players that are out due to injury and COVID protocols. This is on top of the hope that the team have in getting back Jimmy Butler after he twisted his ankle over at the Moda Center in Portland.
If there is a positive it is that Udonis Haslem was cleared from protocols and will be available for the team.
Veteran Offers ‘No Excuses’
Amid all of this, the team is not offering excuses. For the Heat dressing room this seems to be something normal this season. In the 39 games this season, the team used 14 different lineups. That has not allowed any unit, much less the starters, to gel.
“I told the guys after the game in the locker room in Golden State, I don’t care it who it is in all these, we got to play through this stuff, the COVID protocols, the injuries, go down the list,” said PJ Tucker via the Sun Sentinel.
“Everyone has to play through it, there’s no excuse, we’ve got to win games.”
Although they were not able to win against the Warriors, they were able to pull off a big win against Portland, who were missing Damian Lillard due to an abdominal injury.
Herro Will Be Available
One of the players that will be available will be Tyler Herro, who was ejected midweek after getting involved in an altercation with Jusuf Nurkic. After the incident, the NBA decided to fine both players with $25,000 fines. Yet there was no suspensions that were handed out by the league.
Will Markieff Finally Be Able To Play?
The Heat are still waiting on a date when one of their key off-season signing will be able to return to the courts. Yet there were some positive signs coming from the team’s practice sessions in Phoenix on Friday.
Anthony Chiang reported that the former Suns and Lakers man arrived in Phoenix and was able to take part in practice. The team did confirm that there were progress being made on his front, but he will not be able to play against his former team on Saturday.
Morris has missed the past 30 games with a neck injury, but that has not distanced him from controversy.
Despite being sidelined since the push he received from Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in early November, he has gone to social media to offer some cryptic messages. This past Tuesday, the Heat forward referred to Jokic as a “300-pound sloppy fat boy.”
Miami find themselves in the tail-end of an extensive road trip out west that sees Phoenix as their second to last road stop before returning home for four consecutive games.
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