Heat Notes: Jaquez, Spoelstra, Jovic, Wade

Jaime Jaquez didn’t travel with the Heat for their two-game road trip after suffering a left groin strain Sunday night, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The rookie forward is the only player on the roster who hasn’t missed time this season, but that will change after he was injured on a dunk attempt in the first quarter.

“When I went up for the dunk in transition, I just didn’t feel that well when I took off,” Jaquez said. “It totally started to get worse throughout the duration of the game.”

Jaquez tried to play through the pain, but after talking to assistant coach Caron Butler, he decided to sit out the rest of the game as Haywood Highsmith took his place in Miami’s starting lineup for the second half. Jaquez also suffered a groin strain that forced him to miss two weeks during the preseason, but he doesn’t believe this one is as severe.

“I would say I don’t think it’s as bad,” Jaquez said. “I think especially since we’re on it very early, I’m going to make a very quick and smooth recovery. A lot of prevention is what we’re looking at right now.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Coach Erik Spoelstra sees a bright side to the continuing injury issues, saying they have brought a unique focus to the team, Winderman adds in a separate story. As an example, he points to forward Caleb Martin, who returned Friday after his second extended absence of the season. “Guys like Caleb, he wants to gobble up any minute of this type of environment that he can right now,” Spoelstra said. “And the underlying benefit of all this, without anybody having to talk about it, nobody’s taking any of this for granted. When you’re out and you want to play, you’re incredibly grateful to do what we get to do and compete at a high level.”
  • Nikola Jovic is learning how he can help the team during his greatest stretch of playing time since entering the NBA, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Injuries have provided a rare opportunity for the second-year forward, who was hurt for most of his rookie year and was barely used in the first 30 games of this season. “Defensively, I still need a lot of work. I feel like I’ve improved a lot because I’m working on it,” Jovic said. “But I still feel like I’m not there. As someone who is 6-foot-10, I think I can do a lot more. Those things are going to keep me on the court and those are the things that (Spoelstra) talks about and those are things that are important.”
  • Team president Pat Riley announced on Sunday that the Heat will build a statue of Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade outside their arena, writes David Wilson of The Miami Herald.
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