Miami Heat’s Josh Richardson, Josh McRoberts practice for first time this season

MIAMI — Josh Richardson and Josh McRoberts are getting closer to returning to the court.

Both players participated in a full-contact practice Thursday for the first time since they suffered their injuries. But there is still no timetable for their returns.

“The biggest step will be to see how they feel tomorrow,” coach Erik Spoelstra said after Thursday’s practice. “We have to see how they both respond. That was a good step.”

Josh Richardson #0 of the Miami Heat reacts to a three pointer during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Arena on March 19, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Josh Richardson #0 of the Miami Heat reacts to a three pointer during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Arena on March 19, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Richardson, who is listed as questionable for Friday’s game in Toronto, has been out since suffering a partially torn MCL in his right knee in a voluntary workout on Sept. 9. He said he expected the injury to keep him out for six to eight weeks at the time of the injury, and Friday marks exactly eight weeks since he went down.

McRoberts has been out with a stress reaction that stems from a broken left foot he suffered in Game 6 against Toronto in the second round of last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Heat’s upcoming schedule should help Richardson and McRoberts. Miami has three games over the next week, which will allow the Heat to hold practices Richardson and McRoberts can participate in.

The Heat begin a two-game road trip Friday against the Raptors and are expected to hold practice Sunday before facing the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Monday. Miami is then expected to hold another practice Wednesday before hosting Dwyane Wade and the Bulls on Thursday.

Richardson said he’s not sure when he will make his return, but he’s “just playing it by ear.”

“It felt good,” Richardson said of his knee. “Every movement I did felt fine. I was excited to be back in practice. … I think about (my knee on the court) sometimes. But a lot of the time I just have to say, ‘Forget about it and don’t think about it’ and just go until I feel something.”

When Richardson does return, he’s expected to be a key part of the Heat’s rotation. The 6-foot-6 combo guard is capable of playing point guard, shooting guard and even small forward if Miami decided to put out a small lineup.

“I haven’t been able to feel it like in a game setting, so I can’t really say,” Richardson said when asked what he feels like his role will be when he returns. “But just looking from the bench, I would probably say just being another ball handler with Goran (Dragic) and giving him a break and just running the offense.”

Point guard Goran Dragic believes Richardson will help the Heat “a lot” this season.

As a rookie, Richardson averaged 6.6 points on 45.2 percent shooting to go along with 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists primarily in a bench role last season. But Richardson outperformed those numbers after the All-Star game, averaging 10.2 points on 50 percent shooting to go along with 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists following the break.

“His ability to defend, to make plays, to make shots,” Dragic said of Richardson. “He’s an all-around good player. That’s going to give us more guys to rotate.”

While Richardson and McRoberts returned to practice Thursday, guard Wayne Ellington is still recovering from a right thigh contusion he suffered in the Heat’s final preseason game on Oct. 21. Ellington is still not able to practice, but he will travel with the Heat on the two-game road trip to continue to get treatment.

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