Heat guard Rodney McGruder is getting closer to his season debut after participating in a second full-contract practice Wednesday, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. McGruder has been sidelined since having surgery in mid-October to fix a left tibia stress fracture. He is hoping to be ready when the Heat resume play Friday in New Orleans, but coach Erik Spoelstra hasn’t commited to that.
“I’ve got to work a little bit,” McGruder said. “Being off a couple of months, you just don’t hop right back into basketball shape, so I have some more conditioning that I need to work on. I’ve been doing a little more with practicing and just conditioning, preparing myself for when the time comes on my return that I’m ready to play.”
There’s more tonight from the Southeast Division:
- Dwyane Wade plans to come off the bench for the Heat for the rest of the season, Jackson adds in the same story. Because of the All-Star break, he has only been in Miami for four days since being acquired in a trade two weeks ago and needs time to get used to playing alongside new teammates Wayne Ellington, Bam Adebayo and James Johnson. “It’s definitely going to continue to be a work in progress, but the biggest thing is getting to know them personally,” Wade said. “On the court, it comes. You practice together, you play together, that’s going to come. Getting to know each other on the personal side helps even more. That builds trust and on the court you need that trust.”
- Rookie forward Jonathan Isaac will test his injured ankle with the Magic’s G League affiliate, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. He will practice with the Lakeland team on Thursday and play on Friday, according to Orlando coach Frank Vogel. “I definitely understand why they want me to spend some time there [with Lakeland],” said Isaac, who hasn’t playing since spraining his ankle November 11. “I’m just focused on getting back up here [with Orlando] as fast as possible and getting back around these guys.”
- Coach Mike Budenholzer said the Hawks won’t be making the type of moves that are typical of tanking teams, relays Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta is tied with Phoenix for the top spot in our latest Reverse Standings at 18-41. “I think we’ve been a mix of young and veteran guys all year,” Budenholzer said. “I think the way we progressed through the season — of course when you start the season you think it could be a little different — [but] right now but I think the way we’ve played, and the way we continue to play, won’t be that much different.”