Heat Ready to Put Injury Woes Behind in Time for Season Opener
This time it was Mike Miller, who rolled his ankle twice -- once at the halftime buzzer and again during the third quarter. Miller grimaced on the floor and needed to be helped up by teammates before sitting out the rest of the game in what was later described as a minor injury.
"Both times he tweaked it," Spoelstra confirmed after Monday's game. "It was the same ankle. He said he was ready to go in the second half but I said, 'I've seen you roll it enough tonight but I'm not going to go for the triple play on that.' But he should be OK. There were minor sprains and the second one it just kind of gave out on him when he went to close out."
The curious case of Mario Chalmers continues with his nagging ankle injury causing him to be scratched from the game altogether right before tipoff despite Spoelstra telling the media otherwise about 45 minutes earlier.
Though the feeling is that the Heat are taking one step forward and two steps back with regards to their health, practically all of the 18 players on their training camp roster are on the mend. The team will open the regular season Tuesday against their chief Eastern rival Boston Celtics.
The Heat will finally get a chance to integrate former Celtic Eddie House into the mix now that he's finally been given medical clearance to practice. He should be fit to play his first game against the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.
Dwyane Wade remains in his hometown of Chicago for a custody hearing as he continues to rehab his hamstring in time for the opener. Not only is his contribution to the team important in an obvious way because of his talents, but also his familiarity with the Heat's culture and system make him an extremely valuable conduit for the new players to learn from. Wade is essentially a link between the past -- joining Udonis Haslem as the only players left from the 2006 championship team -- and the future of this franchise with his personal recruitment of James and Bosh which gave his team a critical advantage this summer.
For his part, James is looking forward to getting all of his teammates back on the court while he gets accustomed to his new surroundings.
"We're still working things out," said James. "This is a very new team. It's not like we just implemented one or two guys into the system and we've all been rolling. I think at this point we want to just make it as easy as it can be for when D-Wade shows back up.
We just want it to be the last piece to the puzzle. As a kid you'd have 99 pieces all together and you just wanted to put that last piece in. We don't want it to be where he comes back and we have to take it all down and then try to replace it and put it back together. Once he gets back, everyone wants to be on the same page and want it to be an easy transition for him when gets here. Like he's never left."