Erik Spoelstra strikes optimistic tone when it comes to Heat's long injury report

The Miami Heat are hoping to start getting some key rotation players back in the coming days.
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

There are four key rotation players currently listed on the Miami Heat’s injury report.

Tyler Herro.

Jimmy Butler.

Duncan Robinson.

Kevin Love.

… and that’s not including Josh Richardson, who is out for the season after shoulder surgery.

With 10 games left and in the middle of a race to escape the play-in tournament, it’s not the best time for this dramatic spate of injuries, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra tried to strike a positive tone after Thursday’s practice.

“There’s a lot of encouraging things,” Spoelstra said. “With the guys that have been out, everybody’s been making really good progress.” 

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There is good news. Ahead of Friday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Love has been upgraded to probable with a heel bruise that has sidelined him for the last 14 games. Butler is also listed as probably after missing Tuesday’s loss with a non-COVID illness.

Meanwhile, Herro has moved into the next phase of his recovery from a right foot injury that has kept him out for the last 16 games. Spoelstra said there is no timeline for his return but that he is encouraged by his progress.

Robinson, out with a lower back injury, won’t play Friday but is expected to return before the end of next week.

It hasn’t been easy to navigate all of these injuries – the Heat have the fourth-most games missed to injury this season. It’s part of the reason why Miami, after winning the conference last season, is fighting for a guaranteed playoff spot with two weeks to go.

“You have to balance all of this,” Spoelstra said. “Right now, it has to be this idea of all hands on deck, but it has to be in an intelligent way. We’re trying to get guys back out there as quickly as we possibly can, they’re doing whatever they have to do around the clock to make themselves available. 

“Ultimately, all of this becomes about committing to something bigger than yourself, to the team whatever you can give at this time of the year. And then each case is different, everybody’s body is different, everybody’s rehab is different, everybody’s place in that part of the ramp-up is different and we have to treat that accordingly. But we’re getting guys back, we’re encouraged by the progress.”