| 6 years ago||
|Miami Heat to be cautious with players in preseason
With injuries to Dwyane Wade and Eddie House, the Heat will take a more cautious approach to playing its guards in the preseason.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sitting on an exercise ball Thursday, Heat forward LeBron James clenched his fist, tapped his knuckles against the the wooden practice court and stated his case for pressing on in the preseason despite the risk of injury.
``I'm not one of those guys that likes to waste opportunities, because it might be my last -- knock on wood,'' James said. ``If coach gives me 20 minutes, it's going to be the hardest 20 minutes that I've got. That's just how I always approach the game.''
The Heat, however, will approach its second preseason game gingerly when it comes to its depth at guard. Both Dwyane Wade and Eddie House will sit out with injuries for Friday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Sprint Center.
Wade is recovering from a strained right hamstring he sustained early in the first quarter of Tuesday's preseason opener against Detroit. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said an MRI test wasn't necessary for Wade, who will be reevaluated next week and could miss at least two weeks.
The Heat also learned this week that House likely won't be cleared by doctors to play for about two weeks. House is in the final stages of recovering from June shoulder surgery, but he had a minor setback last week in training camp and did not play Tuesday against Detroit.
House said he visited with a doctor Tuesday and was still a couple of weeks away from being cleared. The surgery four months ago was to repair a torn left labrum and bruise.
``Right now, I'm just buying time to get that clearance to go,'' said House, who signed with the Heat as a free agent in July. ``Maybe in a couple of weeks we will see it got stronger, see it's on course to be healthy at that right time. It's just a matter of do you want to force something in the preseason that sets you back again?''
The two-week time frame would put Wade and House out for at least half Miami's eight preseason games. Both players expect to be ready for the Heat's Oct. 26 opener at Boston.
For now, the Heat moves forward with plans to build on Tuesday's 105-89 victory against Detroit. With Wade and House out of the rotation, Mike Miller, James Jones, Mario Chalmers, Kenny Hasbrouck and Anthony Mason Jr. could see more playing time at shooting guard.
Prioritizing the roster will also become more urgent. Spoelstra said Thursday that the Heat, which has a maximum 20 players in training camp, would ``probably start to make some decisions'' after the weekend trip. After Friday's neutral-site game in Kansas City, the Heat plays Saturday night against the San Antonio Spurs.
``I might sit some guys out in particular games so we can look at people [because] we've still got a lot of guys,'' Spoelstra said. ``We want to continue to get comfortable with the rotation, comfortable with how we want to play, primarily on defense, but also pace and spacing.''
Wade's absence would seem to give the supporting cast a chance to get more comfortable with James as the exclusive facilitator and playmaker.
That's one reason James wants to remain on the court as much as possible, to get familiar with his new teammates and game-type situations.
James had 18 points and four a.ssists in 27 minutes Tuesday. But his two turnovers, including a pass that sailed through the hands of center Joel Anthony on a fast break, were examples of the chemistry he's still working to build with Heat players.
The team has spent practice time the past two days on what Spoelstra referred to as breakdown sessions, such as three-on-three situational scrimmages to learn tendencies.
``It's been good, but obviously, it's going to be different because you want to get acclimated with D-Wade in there,'' Miller said. ``The thing is to just get used to playing with each other. But we'll still try to use these next few games to try to get better.''