Is Tyler Herro playing tonight? Latest updates on Heat guard’s injury status ahead of Game 2 vs. Nuggets!– OnMyWay Mobile App User News

Is Tyler Herro playing tonight? Latest updates on Heat guard's injury status ahead of Game 2 vs. Nugget

Tyler Herro dove for a loose ball with about a minute left in the first half of the Miami Heat’s first game of the first round. He took a while to get up, and, when he did, he initially ran off the floor to the locker room. When he realized the Heat were in the middle of an offensive possession, he stationed himself in the corner, grabbing at his right hand and wincing in pain. When Gabe Vincent passed him the ball anyway, he took the open shot but missed it horribly.

Herro stayed on the floor for the remainder of the half, then was done for the game and, in all likelihood, the season. The Heat announced that he’d fractured his right hand. They won the series opener, but, by the time they announced that he’d undergone surgery and was expected to miss a minimum of six weeks, the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks had tied the series 1-1 with franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo sitting out Game 2.

“He is progressing,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re really encouraged by the progress. He started doing contact work as soon as we got to Denver. We have to maintain perspective. We want to be responsible about this. We’re all excited and encouraged by his progress. When we get back to Miami all we’re doing is just sticking to the process, trying to stack positive days; also understanding this is not like trying to return to a game in December. This is the Finals. So, there is a little bit of context to this.”

When Herro underwent surgery to repair his broken right hand, the team disclosed that the guard would miss a minimum of six weeks. He was cleared to resume basketball activities on May 23, but it was unclear when he would be able to return to the floor.

Ahead of the team’s 104-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 1, Spoelstra stated the shooting guard is “not there yet.”

Still hobbled, Herro certainly put in work on the court behind the scenes to get there.

After most of the Heat vacated Ball Arena at the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice, the guard reportedly participated in an extra session working to test the injured hand with the intention of rejoining teammates in live action as soon as possible. The guard participated in the team’s Saturday workout, too, in addition to grinding through similar sessions in Boston during the team’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics.

The guard’s expected return could add some punch to a Miami offense that has embarked on a slow decline over the last five games.

Herro has been sidelined since April 16 after suffering the hand injury during Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks. Yet, Miami’s offense hummed without him over the first 14 games of the postseason.

The Heat averaged 114.9 points over that span, connecting on 48% from the field with Jimmy Butler producing 29.9 points per game on 51.1% from the floor. Miami ran up a record of 11-3 over that timeframe with Herro playing just 19 minutes in Game 1 of the opening round.

The Heat seem to have hit a wall since then, offensively anyways, averaging 99.0 points on 43.6% from the field, as Butler’s scoring dipped to 21.6 points per game on 39.4% from the floor over the team’s last five outings.

This is not necessarily Tom-and-Shiv-in-the-limo awkward, but it’s awkward. Herro’s absence not only forced Butler to take on more usage and made room for Martin, Vincent, Robinson and Max Strus to get comfortable on offense, but it also allowed Miami’s coaching staff to balance the rotation. By taking a high-minutes, offense-only player out of the picture entirely, the Heat went from an above-average defensive team to an elite one. During his end-of-season press conference on Thursday, Celtics president Brad Stevens said that his team “had trouble getting by that first line of defense with all the helping hands and activity” and that the ball pressure forced Boston to initiate its offense later than it wanted to and get stagnant late in games.

Could Herro’s scoring be valuable against the Denver Nuggets? Sure, as long as he’s capable of jumping right into the most intense environment imaginable less than two months after breaking his shooting hand. If there was a single legitimate reason to be skeptical of the Nuggets’ title chances as they piled up regular-season wins, it was that they might run into a team that can spread them out in the playoffs. Even with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. healthy and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown on the roster, they are theoretically vulnerable against offenses like last year’s Golden State Warriors and the previous year’s Phoenix Suns, who both mixed pristine spacing with pinpoint passing and pull-up shooting. Herro’s two-man game with Adebayo could be a real problem.

On the surface, Miami’s 104-93 loss in Game 1 on Thursday suggests that Herro is perfectly positioned to play hero. The Heat scored a paltry 100 points per 100 possessions, and, according to Cleaning The Glass, managed just 93.3 per 100 in the halfcourt. Butler scored 13 points on 14 shots and didn’t attempt a free throw. It was their least efficient game of the playoffs, and, since Denver was also extremely inefficient by its standards, one could conclude that Miami can afford to sacrifice some defense for buckets.

That would be a dangerous conclusion. Despite the numbers, I came away from the opener much more concerned about the Heat’s defense than their offense. They looked tiny compared to the Nuggets, and Nikola Jokic was not bothered in the least by their fronting or double-teaming. Given similar looks on Sunday, I highly doubt Porter and Murray will miss a combined 14 of 18 shots from 3-point range.


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