The Miami Heat on Monday got encouraging news concerning Kevin Love, who left Sunday night’s Game 3 win early in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury. According to coach Erik Spoelstra, Love is probable for Tuesday’s Game 4.
“Great news from this morning,” Spoelstra said following Miami’s practice on Monday.
With just over seven minutes left in the first quarter of the Heat’s 128-102 victory over the Boston Celtics to take a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals, Love checked out of the game and did not return. Three minutes into the game, Love asked to be subbed out after missing a jumper. During Miami’s next break, he went straight to the locker room and did not return to the sideline until the second quarter.
The injury, initially labeled as a left ankle injury, is being termed as a lower left leg muscle strain. Spoelstra said Love would have been available to return during Game 3 but there was no need after the Heat went up by as many as 33.
“It just felt like a muscle cramp and was kind of off and on,” Love said Monday. “So I just wanted to ask to come out, wanted to be smart about it.”
“At halftime we’d had a conversation,” he continued. “We were up 15. I said I was available. But then the score just got upwards of 20, 30. And from that point on, I just figured I’d get my treatment, make sure I was all good.”
Caleb Martin stepped in for Love and played 35 minutes, including every minute until midway through the third quarter. He had 18 points. All indications point to Love returning for Game 4, when the Heat have an opportunity to close out the series at home and advance to the NBA Finals.
“If I’m feeling good,” Love said when asked about Tuesday’s game. “I’ll be ready to go.”
Tyler Herro update upcoming
Tyler Herro hasn’t played since the first game of the playoffs, when he broke his right hand diving for a loose ball against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 16. When asked about Herro’s status, Spoelstra offered a cautious response.
“I think to be more responsible, I’ll give you a more definitive update [Tuesday],” Spoelstra said. “But, yes, he’s making progress. But that’s it. There’s no timeline, still.”
After Herro underwent surgery on April 21, the Heat announced he was expected to miss a minimum of six weeks. During the TNT broadcast of Sunday’s Game 3, sideline reporter Allie LaForce reported that Herro was no longer wearing a brace on his right shooting hand and still has yet to begin shooting and dribbling.