The Miami Heat took the rare step of announcing a player’s absence ahead of tipoff on Monday when coach Eric Spoelstra said guard Tyler Herro was out for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals due to a groin strain.
During the morning shoot at TD Garden, Spoelstra said it was a matter of protecting Hero from the tendency to push.
“We really had to be responsible and take the decision out of his hands,” Spoelstra said, adding that Spoelstra consulted with Harlan Selesnik, team doctor with Hero, before addressing the media. “He really wants to be out there.
“The trainers and Dr. Selesnik don’t think it’s the best idea because of the intensity and everything. But we’ll see. He’s young. We’ll deal with him daily and see what happens from there.”
Hero, winner of the 2022 NBA sixth Man of the Year award, is in the midst of a tough patch, coming off a 4K-15 shooting performance over the Boston Celtics in Saturday night’s Game 3, which gave the Heat 2nd-best. 1 lead in the Off Seven series.
It was a struggle that may well have been aggravated by the waist issue.
“End of the first half,” Spoelstra said of the probable timing of Herro’s injury. “Think it was on a floater. He doesn’t quite remember. And then there was a close on Jaylen Brown in the very next possession. It could have happened during that sequence.”
Spoelstra said it is important that staff and coaches take a proactive stance in such situations.
“We have a lot of experience with that,” Spoelstra said. “I think I’ve been having these really tough conversations with people throughout the second half of the season and then of course in the playoffs.
“Guys want to make themselves available. It’s that time of year when everyone wants to play. If you play through more things than the November game. But there is also a responsibility to the athlete and their health, and we have to be disciplined for that. And sometimes these are tough decisions.”
Kendra Bam Adebayo said he feels for Hero.
“I think he must be in some serious pain,” Adebayo said. “He’s our sixth Man of the Year. In a few games, he’s got us ahead. So that’s the biggest part of missing Tyler. He can score in bunches. He sees that two shots go in and next thing you know he might have 10, 12 [points] In a quarter.”
Adebayo said this is when the experienced presence of Viktor Oladipo is so important.
“Just because he has worked so hard for this opportunity, going through injury, in and out of the lineup, and then we throw him in, he succeeds in his role. So we just have to be successful in his role. He needs them.”
Also during the morning shoot was starting power forward PJ Tucker, who is battling a burn in his left knee.
Despite Tucker wearing a sleeve just above the knee and taking the stimulation treatment, Spoelstra shrugged off the anxiety.
“I mean, he’s basically the same place he was in the shootaround before Game 3,”
Monday’s other major injury concern was a right knee swelling that kept short forward Jimmy Butler out for the second half of Saturday’s win.
Spoelstra said Butler showed no signs of banning.
In addition, point guard Kyle Lowry was cleared to move, returning on Saturday after missing eight of the last 10 games with a muscle strain.
“He came well,” said Spoelstra.