Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro will undergo surgery for a broken right hand on Friday and expects to miss four to six weeks, he told reporters Tuesday.
Herro added that the earliest he could return would be the NBA Finals. Herro left Miami’s Game 1 win against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second quarter with a broken right hand he suffered when diving for a loose ball.
What does this mean for the Heat?
In the immediate term, there’s clarification about Herro’s absence but the Heat have to figure out how to replace his shot-making in the starting lineup. It was clear from when his injury was first diagnosed as a broken hand that he would not be returning to the Heat’s first-round series against the Bucks, so coach Erik Spoelstra has had time to consider his options.
To start the second half, after Herro was ruled out, Spoelstra started Duncan Robinson at shooting guard. Robinson made a 3-pointer in his first 6 1/2 minute stint, but did not return to the game.
Robinson is still an option to start alongside Gabe Vincent, Jimmy Butler, Max Strus and Bam Adebayo in Game 2 on Wednesday, while other options include Victor Oladipo, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love. The belief here is that Lowry and Love are likely to remain on the bench, since Spoelstra has turned that unit into a strength, and that Oladipo is too erratic to rely on as a starter. Because of his ability to space the floor, Robinson is the most likely option, despite the defensive and fouling concerns.
Regardless of who starts, the Heat will need to replace Herro’s 3-point shooting, ability to run the pick-and-roll and playmaking by committee. Vincent, in particular, had a big fourth quarter and made several big shots and passes in crunch time of Miami’s Game 1 win.
The Finals, really?
Gotta love Herro’s confidence, I guess. Suppose the Heat complete the upset over the Bucks. The winner of Cavaliers-Knicks would be the matchup in the next round. That’s more winnable than this Bucks series. Perhaps they get a break in the conference finals — an injury, opponent fatigue, hot shooting, etc — and they are able to make it to the Finals. At that point, getting Herro back would be a huge addition against whatever high-scoring opponent emerges from the Western Conference (the Suns, Kings, Nuggets, Warriors, etc). I don’t know. Herro said it, I’m just laying out the hypothetical path.