Shorthanded Heat without Tyler Herro, Terry Rozier and 3 suspended players vs. Kings

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Shorthanded Heat without Tyler Herro, Terry Rozier and 3 suspended players vs. Kings

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro sidelined with knee injury, but for how long?

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro sidelined with knee injury, but for how long?

SACRAMENTO — The news remains encouraging; the availability is a different story.

Despite Tyler Herro and Terry Rozier trending in positive directions with knee injuries, both Miami Heat guards were ruled out from Monday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center.

A Monday MRI on the left knee that Tyler Herro hyperextended in the closing minutes of Friday night’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans showed no other injury and no structural damage.

Meanwhile, as Herro worked on the side during Monday morning’s shootaround, Rozier continued to push through fast-paced shooting drills without lingering signs of the sprained right knee that left him on Monday night missing his fourth consecutive game.

“When you see guys go down like that in each case — Terry basically had to be carried off and Tyler was walking off gingerly — you’re just hoping for the best for them and then you just wait,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I hate that. Those are the longest days when you’re waiting for the results from an MRI.

“But all things considered, we’re really encouraged by the results for both of them. They’ll be day-to-day and we’ll figure it out.”

The four-game trip that opened Friday in New Orleans closes with games on Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers and Thursday night against the Denver Nuggets, in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.

Monday’s shootaround also featured extensive action for Heat newcomer Delon Wright, who, with Herro, Rozier and Josh Richardson (shoulder) out, basically stood as the team’s last point guard standing.

In addition to being without Herro and Rozier, the Heat also went into Monday night’s game with Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jovic and Thnomas Bryant sidelined by NBA suspensions for their roles in Friday night’s fracass against the Pelicans.

All three were at the morning shootaround, with Bryant and Jovic staying for extra work after teammates left.

By rules, none of the three were allowed in the arena for Monday night’s game.

Butler and Jovic are eligible to return Tuesday in Portland, with Bryant receiving a three-game suspension that has him out the balance of the trip.

Switch flipping

Spoelstra has downplayed the notion of flipping a switch with the playoffs just two months away.

“We don’t use that term,” he said. “I guess we feel like we’re flipping the switch when preseason ends, after the first 10 games, and the next 10. There’s always segments we’re trying to maximize during the course of a season.

“I think that keeps us on edge. But there are peaks and valleys. That’s natural in an 82-game season. You don’t want to succumb to that narrative. But this is a fun time of year, also. I don’t want the guys not to enjoy this. This is when it’s most competitive.”

Spoelstra said with the advent of the play-in round that has created 20 postseason berths among the 30 teams, it leads to heightened competition longer than previously.

“Everybody now is fighting for playoff position,” he said. “You’re not going to face too many teams in these next games that aren’t playing for something.

“There’s more teams playing for playoff position, one way or another, either trying to get homecourt or trying to get out of the play-in or trying to get into the play-in. I think all of this is good for competitors.”

Another level

In facing the Kings on Monday night, it meant going against Sacramento center Domantas Sabobonis, who in Sunday night’s road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers became the sixth player in NBA history to record 20 or more triple-doubles in a season.

Sabonis added his name to the list of Oscar Robertson (five such seasons with 20 or more triple-doubles), Russell Westbrook (four), Wilt Chamberlain (two), Nikola Jokic (one) and James Harden (one).

“There’s only one, two, three, four, five other players in a season, and these are all Hall of Famers,” Kings coach Mike Brown said. “The sad part about it is this man didn’t even get an All-Star bid and he’s one of six in the history — not this season, in the history of the game.”

Sabonis and Kings teammate De’Aaron Fox were among this season’s All-Star snubs.

Spoelstra said Monday that Sabonis’ playmaking off dribble handoffs is particularly unique.

“He can generate 20 to 30 points that are relief points for them on any given night just with his passing and his handoffs, all of those types of things,” Spoelstra said. “He has great technique with it.”

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