Tyler Herro

Heat Notes: Playoff Prospects, Rozier, Depth, Herro

Sunday’s loss at Indiana was extremely damaging to the Heat‘s hopes of avoiding the play-in tournament, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami slipped into eighth place at 43-35, a game-and-a-half behind Indiana and a half-game back of Philadelphia. The Pacers clinched the tie-breaker with the Heat, now holding a 2-1 advantage in head-to-head games, and Indiana will get the sixth seed if the teams finish in a three-way tie.

Miami’s long-shot hopes of escaping the play-in involve winning its final four games while the Pacers lose two of their last three. The Heat’s schedule is favorable with a trip to Atlanta on Tuesday, followed by a home game with Dallas the next night and a pair at home against Toronto to end the season. The Pacers will play at Toronto and Cleveland before finishing up the season at home against Atlanta. A complete collapse by Cleveland, Orlando or New York over the final week is Miami’s only other chance to finish in the top six.

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Terry Rozier sat out the fourth quarter on Sunday due to neck stiffness that caused him to be listed as questionable heading into the game, Chiang adds. Rozier played just 22 minutes and was limited to four points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field. “I never like to make excuses, but I shouldn’t have went today,” he said. “I shouldn’t have played. I felt like I hurt the team by trying to be a warrior and get out there.”
  • The Heat’s season-long injury issues have resulted in significant minutes for numerous players, which could be an advantage heading into the postseason, Chiang states in a separate piece. “It’s a good thing that we can go 10 people into the rotation and everybody feels comfortable,” Jimmy Butler said. “Everybody knows the plays and everybody knows where they’re supposed to be at. … That’s a good problem to have whenever you’re going into the playoffs. It’s a good problem to have whenever you’re trying to be as deep as possible.”
  • Tyler Herro credits a decision to rest with helping him return after missing more than a month due to a hyperextended left knee and medial tendinitis in his right foot, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The time off, combined with a platelet-rich plasma injection, enabled him to resume playing over the weekend. “So the PRP shot was kind of bringing it some extra reinforcement, to kind of hopefully release some pressure on the tendon,” Herro explained. “And I was able to do that with some weeks of rest after the PRP shot. And, ultimately, that’s what got me back on the floor.”

Heat Notes: Herro, Starting Five, Defense, Love, Bryant, More

While Thursday’s loss to the Sixers was a disappointing one, the Heat had a good day on Friday, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, as Tyler Herro returned following a 20-game absence and scored 17 points in a convincing, much-needed victory over Houston.

“It’s just great to have him back,” Erik Spoelstra said of Herro. “His head coach didn’t forget what he brings to the table. That skill level, the creativity, the speed, the quickness, all that stuff is what we need.”

Herro came off the bench for the first time this season in his return to the court, as the Heat stuck with a starting lineup of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, and Nikola Jovic. No five-man unit has started more games (13) or played more minutes together (170) for Miami this season than that one.

However, the results for that group have been mixed, as Chiang observes, with a -4.9 overall net rating, so Spoelstra won’t necessarily feel the need to stick with it now that the team is healthier. Herro had started 103 consecutive regular season games prior to Friday — it could just be a matter of time before he returns to the starting lineup.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The Heat had another strong night defensively on Friday, according to Chiang, who wrote earlier this week about the way the team has been performing on that end of the court during the second half. Since January 30, the Heat rank second in the NBA (and first in the East) in defensive rating and have now moved up to No. 4 for the season. “It’s been a goal all season to get to top five and stay top five,” Caleb Martin said. “So it’s good that it’s starting to come around at the right time. I think that we always understand when it really comes down to it, that’s our ticket to winning the game, whether that’s in the playoffs or getting in a position to where we don’t have to worry about the play-in.”
  • Kevin Love, who has been back in the Heat’s rotation for the past three contests after missing 16 games due to a heel injury, went out of his way this week to praise his replacement, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “You got to tip your hat to TB (Thomas Bryant). He’s been playing awesome,” Love said. Bryant has been a DNP-CD in the three games Love has played, but earned praise from Spoelstra as well for the minutes he gave the club during Love’s absence: “It takes a professional like Thomas to have an understanding of that, this is what depth is all about. And obviously we’ve used all of our depth. But the depth becomes more complex when you have more guys available. He really gave us such tremendous minutes the last six weeks when Kevin was out.”
  • Haywood Highsmith didn’t open the season as a regular rotation player for Miami, but has become a trusted contributor and played nearly 27 minutes on Friday even with Herro back and the roster relatively healthy. “He’s so inspiring right now,” Spoelstra said this week, per Winderman. “He just continues to grind, continues to work, continues to get better. And he just does all the little things for our team, to help you win. You need players like this to win in this league.” Highsmith will be an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension by June 30.
  • While the Sioux Falls Skyforce were eliminated from the G League playoffs on Friday, the Heat’s NBAGL affiliate earned a pair of end-of-season awards earlier in the day. Two-way player Alondes Williams, who was the runner-up for the G League’s MVP award, was named the NBAGL Most Improved Player (Twitter link), while Skyforce general manager Eric Amsler was the league’s Executive of the Year (Twitter link).

Heat’s Tyler Herro Returns To Action On Friday

6:10pm: Herro will return to action on Friday in a reserve role with an unspecified minutes restriction, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter links).

7:42am: There’s optimism that guard Tyler Herro could return to action on Friday when the Heat face the Rockets in Houston, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Herro has been sidelined since February 23, having missed Miami’s past 20 games due to a hyperextended left knee and medial tendinitis in his right foot. The knee is no longer an issue, but the foot injury has kept the 24-year-old on the shelf.

Herro is traveling with the club on its three-game road trip to Houston, Indiana (Sunday), and Atlanta (Tuesday), Charania notes, so even if he’s not cleared to return on Friday, it sounds like there’s a good chance he’ll be back in action before the Heat return home next week.

It has been an injury-plagued season for Herro, who also missed several weeks in November and December. However, he has played some of his best basketball when he has been healthy, averaging a career-best 20.8 points and 4.4 assists in in 33.6 minutes per game across 36 appearances (all starts).

Herro’s 39.9% mark on three-point attempts also matches a career high, and he’s attempting more of those outside shots than ever (8.1 per game), so he’ll be a welcome addition to a Heat team that could use his scoring and shooting as it battles for a top-six spot in the East.

With Herro on the verge of returning, it’s unclear whether or not Terry Rozier will be available on Friday vs. the Rockets, per Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Rozier appeared to suffer a knee injury late in Thursday’s loss to Philadelphia, and while he told reporters after the game that he felt better, head coach Erik Spoelstra suggested the club will take another look at the knee on Friday.

“He banged knees,” Spoelstra said. “We’ll just have to see how he feels when we get on to Houston. He said he feels fine. You don’t want to take anybody for their word until we get to Houston, see each other (Friday) morning. He’s tough.”

Injury Notes: Heat, C. Johnson, J. Brown, Warriors

While Tyler Herro (foot) remains sidelined for Sunday’s game vs. Washington and Caleb Martin (ankle) will also be unavailable, the Heat are getting a little healthier overall.

As Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes, Kevin Love was available on Friday after missing 14 games due to a heel injury, but he wasn’t needed in a 60-point blowout of Portland, so head coach Erik Spoelstra opted to give him another day off.

Love will be active on Sunday and Duncan Robinson appears to be on track to return from a five-game absence due to a back ailment. According to the team (Twitter link), Robinson has been listed as probable to play vs. the Wizards.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Nets wing Cameron Johnson, who has missed three straight games due to a sprained left big toe, was upgraded to questionable for the club’s game vs. the Lakers on Sunday, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. It looks like there’s a good chance Johnson will be available for at least one end of Brooklyn’s back-to-back set on Sunday and Monday against L.A. and Indiana, respectively.
  • Celtics star Jaylen Brown said after Saturday’s win in New Orleans that his left hand has been bothering him as of late and that he plans to get it “looked at” when the team returns home after playing in Charlotte on Monday (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe). Brown hasn’t missed any time as a result of the injury, but this would be the time to give him a game off if it’s needed, since Boston has already clinched the top seed in the East.
  • The Warriors, in the thick of a race for a play-in spot, were missing Jonathan Kuminga (knee) and Klay Thompson (knee) on Friday in Charlotte (Twitter links via Kendra Andrews of ESPN). Both players are considered day-to-day and have been listed as questionable for Sunday’s contest in San Antonio.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Bey, Ball, Clifford, Heat

The Hawks’ surprise comeback victory against the Celtics on Monday served as testament, in part, to the growth of Atlanta’s developing young backups, writes Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Hawks ultimately bested a top-seeded Boston team 120-118 after trailing by as many as 30 points. That marks the biggest rally in the league across the past 26 years. Williams notes that backups Vit Krejci and Bruno Fernando served as key pieces in the victory. The duo played big roles in part as a result of injuries to Bey, Jalen Johnson, Onyeka Okongwu and All-Star Trae Young.

“I mean, it’s a next-man mentality,” Krejci said. “We got a couple guys out. But we still believe that with the roster we have, right now, we can compete with anybody.”

The Hawks followed Monday’s victory up with a 120-106 win over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday and a 123-122 overtime victory over the Celtics tonight. Atlanta now finds itself in the midst of a four-game win streak. At 34-39, the team sits just one game behind the 35-38 Bulls for the East’s ninth seed.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks small forward Saddiq Bey‘s surgery on his torn left ACL on Thursday was a success, Atlanta has announced (Twitter link). The Hawks reveal that Dr. Riley Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York conducted the procedure, and that Bey will stay in New York for an estimated 10 days.
  • Star Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball was ruled out for the season earlier today due to his lingering right ankle ailment, which is especially bittersweet given his impressive play prior to that injury, writes Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. His 23.9 PPG and 1.8 SPG this year represented career highs, as did his 8.3 made field goals and 4.1 converted free throws. “I want to say the last nine games he played, he was top-five in scoring, top-five in assists and I think top two or three in crunch time scoring and crunch time assists,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “I think it was easy to get excited about and it’s also something he can build on… Look, injuries are a part of this league and, again, all I know is he’s been incredibly diligent. So, it’s not anybody’s fault. It’s just the way it’s worked out.” The injury-prone Ball, whose maximum rookie-scale salary extension kicks in next season, has only played more than 51 games in a season once, during his lone All-Star year in 2021/22.
  • Several key Heat contributors could be back on the floor for the team soon, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Starting shooting guard Tyler Herro put in a shooting workout after practice on Thursday as he continues to gradually recuperate from his right foot medial tendinitis. “We don’t have a timeline [for a comeback], but yeah it’s definitely encouraging that he’s able to get on the wood and start to get ready,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Herro, who has missed 16 straight games since February 23. Reserve floor-spacing center Kevin Love has seen his status for Friday’s matchup with the lottery-bound Trail Blazers improved to probable as he continues to work his way back from a bruised right heel. Star swingman Jimmy Butler is also considered probable to return after sitting out the team’s Tuesday loss to the Heat with an illness.

Injury Notes: Mitchell, LeBron, Clarke, Holiday, Heat, Duren

Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, who hasn’t played since March 16 while he recovers from a nagging knee injury and a nasal fracture, is hoping to return to action as early as Friday, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). After playing in Charlotte on Wednesday, the Cavs will return home to host the Sixers on Friday.

If Mitchell isn’t able to suit up vs. Philadelphia, his next opportunity to return would be on Sunday in Denver for the start of a five-game Western Conference road trip. The Cavs will also visit Utah, Phoenix, and Los Angeles (to play both the Lakers and Clippers) on that trip before wrapping up the regular season with three home games.

Cleveland is in a battle for playoff positioning in the East and currently holds a narrow lead on New York for the No. 3 seed. At 44-28, the Cavs have a half-game cushion on the 43-28 Knicks, who would hold the tiebreaker edge if the team finish with identical records.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Lakers forward LeBron James has officially been listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. Memphis (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic). However, Dave McMenamin of ESPN, confirming previous reporting, tweets that James remains on track to be available for that contest.
  • There’s a chance that Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke will be able to make his 2023/24 debut in that game against the Lakers. Clarke, who has spent the season recovering from an Achilles tear, has been upgraded to questionable, per the team (Twitter link).
  • Celtics guard Jrue Holiday participated in practice on Wednesday after missing the team’s past five games due to a right shoulder injury, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. It’s unclear whether Holiday will be available on Thursday vs. Atlanta.
  • Providing updates on a pair of injured Heat players, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that Duncan Robinson (back) should return within the next week or so but that “the big worry” is Tyler Herro (foot), who still doesn’t have a return timeline. For what it’s worth, Herro replied to Charania’s report with a “cap” emoji, sarcastically adding in a follow-up tweet, “I just had a great workout , but I ain’t coming back no time soon.”
  • Pistons center Jalen Duren will return on Wednesday in Minnesota vs. the Timberwolves following a three-game absence due to back spasms, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.

Heat Notes: Lineup Combinations, Jaquez, Highsmith, Jovic

With their season disrupted by injuries, the Heat won’t be able to rely on continuity in the playoffs, but coach Erik Spoelstra thinks they might have something even better, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami has used 34 different starting lineups this season — trailing only Memphis and Portland — and Spoelstra believes it has been beneficial for so many players to receive important minutes.

“There’s always going to be a benefit,” he said. “A lot of guys get to step up and earn the opportunity to impact winning. The more players that can be engaged in a season and impact wins, that helps. Our versatility is super important for our team. So we feel like we’ve been able to weather some of the missed games.”

Chiang notes that the Heat only have one five-man group that has logged more than 100 minutes together. Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jovic and Bam Adebayo have played 115 minutes as a unit, but they’ve been outscored by 4.2 points per 100 possessions.

One positive sign is that Butler, Adebayo and Tyler Herro were very effective in their 21 games together before Herro was sidelined with a foot injury last month. Groupings featuring those three are outscoring opponents by 5.1 points per 100 possessions, and Spoelstra will have a lot of options to surround them with once Herro returns.

“Some teams will be trying to throw different lineups and they’ve never played with each other,” Caleb Martin said. “There’s no way we throw a lineup out there now that hasn’t played with each other. So that’s definitely going to come to our benefit eventually. Obviously, it’s been a struggle during the regular season. But around this time of the year, it’s going to benefit us.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Jaime Jaquez was added to the injury list on Sunday with discomfort in his left knee and ankle, Chiang states in a separate story. There’s no immediate prognosis on Jaquez, but the Heat hope to have him back before the end of the regular season, along with Herro, Robinson and Kevin Love, who also sat out the game.
  • Haywood Highsmith provided a lift by hitting his first five shots from the field and making all four of his three-point attempts, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The outburst was welcome, as Highsmith had only reached double figures in scoring one time since February 26.
  • Jovic feels fortunate to be learning about the NBA from Spoelstra, tweets Brady Hawk of Five Reasons Sports. “He wants me to be great,” Jovic said. “And I appreciate that.”

Heat Notes: Robinson, Herro, Jovic, Highsmith, Martin, Swider

If the Heat manage to reach the playoffs, they may head into the postseason with at least one starting position unsettled, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. It’s not clear who would start at shooting guard, especially if Duncan Robinson returns from his back issues before Tyler Herro recovers from his foot injury.

Jackson notes that lineups with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Robinson have fared better than those with Butler, Adebayo and Herro, but only slightly. Both Robinson and Herro provide floor spacing, which has been missing from Miami’s offense during their absence.

“You can’t replace a guy like Duncan who shoots from anywhere, and Tyler, who creates his own shot, and the leadership of (Kevin Love),” Adebayo said.

The Heat have tried several options this season at power forward, although Jackson points out that Nikola Jovic has started the last 14 games when he’s been available. However, Haywood Highsmith has been more productive with Butler and Adebayo, and Caleb Martin has also seen significant minutes alongside the two stars. Coach Erik Spoelstra seems to be committed to using Jovic as the starter because of the overall effect he has on the offense.

“The one thing I do know is they both have great skill levels,” Spoelstra said. “And it’s almost inverted with us, when two bigs can handle. They both can pass. They both can make plays. They can both finish at the rim. And they both feel very comfortable just being facilitators.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Robinson has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with Cleveland, but his back is feeling much better, Jackson states in a separate story. Robinson got a positive report from a back specialist after being sent home early from a road trip on Monday. “Thankful it’s not too serious,” he said. “Big thing is making sure [to] calm it down. It’s flared up right now. I’m trying to play as soon as I possibly can. Itching to be back out there. As soon as I get the clear and OK, I’ll be back out there. Taking a couple days helps a lot. The recovery and treatment has helped as well as other things.”
  • Friday’s game with the Pelicans was much calmer than the teams’ February meeting, which resulted in four ejections and five suspensions, Jackson adds. Spoelstra said before the game that he didn’t expect any bad feelings from the scuffle to carry over. “It’s all behind us,” he said. “This was nothing compared to the ’90s.”
  • Making his 12th appearance of the season on Friday night, two-way small forward Cole Swider went 4-of-6 from three-point range and scored 14 points in 18 minutes. Earlier this week, he told Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel that he’s ready to help fill the need for outside shooting. “This is what a two-way is for, is for moments like this when Duncan’s out, Tyler’s out,” Swider said.

Heat Notes: Martin, Rozier, Herro, Adebayo, Robinson, Mills

Heat forward Caleb Martin understands that his high-energy approach to the game can be most effective in a sixth-man role, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After a breakout performance in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, Martin has returned to a reserve spot this year, coming off the bench in 19 of the 52 games he has played. Amid numerous lineup changes due to injuries, coach Erik Spoelstra has tried to keep Martin’s role constant.

“I really don’t care. I really don’t,” Martin said. “Like I said, the biggest thing for me is getting minutes and finishing games. So it ultimately doesn’t matter if you come off the bench. If I’m playing 25, 30 minutes and I’m finishing games, I’m going to be able to produce.”

With a $7.1MM player option for next season, Martin is likely to test free agency this summer, Winderman adds. He’s also dealing with the distraction of a sprained left thumb that will probably need surgery after the season is over. He keeps it taped during games and wears a leather brace when he’s not playing.

“It’s something minor. It’s nothing crazy or I wouldn’t be able to still be playing on it,” Martin said. “So it would be different if it was a different kind of injury. So it’s one of those things that’s a pretty quick fix.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Spoelstra will likely stagger the minutes between Terry Rozier and Tyler Herro whenever Herro returns from his right foot injury, Winderman states in a separate story. They have similar skills as shot creators, and Winderman notes that it could be valuable to have them on the court together late in close games.
  • Bam Adebayo is looking forward to returning after sitting out Wednesday’s game with a lower back contusion, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest with New Orleans, and he expressed hope that he’ll be ready to play. “I sat down and had a conversation with coach,” Adebayo said. “We got guys back, so he told me it was time to take (a night off).”
  • A scan of Duncan Robinson‘s back didn’t reveal any significant issues, league sources tell Chiang. Robinson was diagnosed with left facet syndrome after returning home early from the road trip to see a back specialist, but he’s not believed to be facing a lengthy absence.
  • Patty Mills has made a smooth transition since signing with Miami on March 6, Chiang observes in another piece. Injuries have opened up a rotation role, and the veteran guard has logged double-digit minutes in seven straight games. “The surprising part is how comfortable and quickly that I’ve been able to pick up on some stuff,” Mills said. “Then after that, what can you do to impact the team in a positive way. I think that’s been probably the most surprising part, if anything.”

Tyler Herro Receives PRP Injection, Out At Least 1-2 More Weeks

Heat guard Tyler Herro, who has been sidelined since February 23, received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on Friday to treat his injured right foot, sources tell Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. According to Chiang, Herro will be reevaluated in one-to-two weeks.

Herro has been listed as out in recent weeks due to right foot medial tendinitis, notes Chiang, adding that the 24-year-old also dealt with a hyperextended left knee. The knee issue has healed and it’s the foot injury that is keeping him on the shelf.

While Herro isn’t on the verge of returning, there’s hope that he’ll be able to suit up for the Heat at some point before the end of the regular season, per Chiang.

Herro has been a full-time starter for Miami when healthy this season, averaging 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in 33.6 minutes per game across 36 contests. His 39.9% three-point percentage is tied for a career high, and he’s attempting more threes than ever (8.1 per game).

Herro was injured and unavailable during the Heat’s run to the NBA Finals last spring, so while the club has shown that it can win without him, it’s safe to assume he’ll be pushing hard to be part of the postseason rotation this time around.

Of course, a playoff spot still isn’t assured for the Heat, who are tied for the No. 7 spot in the East at 36-30. Miami has the same record as the No. 8 Sixers, though both clubs hold a relatively safe lead (4.5 games) over the No. 9 Bulls and remain hot on the heels of the No. 6 Pacers (37-30).