Miami Heat’s Rodney McGruder out with leg fracture, now what?

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 11: Rodney McGruder
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 11: Rodney McGruder /

Miami Heat small forward Rodney McGruder has just been ruled out with a leg fracture, so where should the team go from here?

There’s been plenty to like about Miami Heat’s preseason run so far.

But Rodney McGruder being ruled out with a leg fracture? Not so much.

The 26-year-old has reportedly been experiencing discomfort in his leg over the last couple of days, but kept grinding on. The only player to start all five preseason matchups, McGruder averaged 7.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists a game. Most recently coming off of totaling 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 25 minutes in a win over the Washington Wizards.

While head coach Erik Spoelstra has yet to comment on the small forward’s status, he has spoken highly of McGruder on several occasions.

"“He started 65 games, he was one of the toughest, most competitive, detailed, defenders in the league,” Spoelstra said over the summer. “He took on the challenge every single night as one of the best wing defenders. Forget about being just a rookie, an impactful pro. What we did during the second half of the season was as much about the mentality and toughness Rodney McGruder gave us as it was anybody else.”"

So to say this is a blow to the team, would be an understatement.

Initially, it was announced that the defensive powerhouse would be out three to six months. But soon after, the Heat countered that, saying it’s too soon to commit to a timetable.

Regardless of how long McGruder will actually be sidelined, the question becomes who will Miami replace him with?

The best option is probably Josh Richardson, who has had one heck of a preseason performance so far. Averaging 13.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.4 steals over five contests, it’s clear the third-year is playing his best basketball yet.

However, James Johnson and Justise Winslow are also available, although not as ideal. With James Johnson thriving off the bench alongside Tyler Johnson, and Winslow still finding his footing, it would be dicey sticking either in a starting role.

There is also the issue of the Heat having to cut their roster down to 15 by Monday.

Miami may have previously had an idea of who they wanted to keep around, but McGruder’s injury could very well change that.

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The depth of the Miami Heat’s 2017-18 roster is certainly one of the team’s strengths. But nevertheless, losing Rodney McGruder for any amount of time is a hard fact to face.