CLEVELAND – Now it’s the Heat’s turn to play the Cavaliers shorthanded.
Miami is without its top two bench players tonight, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson, as it attempts to sweep the home-and-home series with Cleveland.
James Johnson’s right elbow remains sore after he received three stitches to close a cut that happened when he inadvertently elbowed Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert on Saturday. Shumpert chipped his two front teeth on the play.
“JJ went through about half the shoot-around and it just kept getting worse,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We want to make sure it doesn’t get infected.”
Tyler Johnson’s neck and left shoulder are sore after he “got pinched” while being screened during Friday’s game in Orlando.
“It wasn’t getting any better,” Spoelstra said.
Both players went through about half of Friday’s shoot-around and both are hopeful they can play Wednesday at home against Charlotte.
The more concerning could be Tyler, who sat six games this season with a left shoulder strain and missed three months last year after having rotator cuff surgery on the same shoulder. He has been sidelined because of the left shoulder four times since 2015. Tyler also had left shoulder issues while at Fresno State.
Tyler said doctors “were pretty optimistic about it. They just said for precautionary. … for the sake of, you run into it again it’s just going to feel sore like it did. We’re just trying to get it back and make sure I’m healthy going forward.”
Tyler said he felt a “weird sensation” when the injury occurred and then “kind of re-aggravated” it again Saturday.
“I was trying to fight through it the last couple of days,” he said. “It was just real sore. I don’t want to keep messing with it. It’s just going to prolong it.”
Tyler also missed games this year because of dental work, illness and a migraine.
James said the cut was really bothering him today.
“I was going to go out, try to fight through it but it just hurts,” he said.
“I hate being out. But like I said it’s next guy up and I know whoever is up is ready.”
James has missed five games this season, four because of a rotator cuff injury and one because of food poisoning.
With Chris Bosh (blood clots), Josh McRoberts (stress reaction left foot) and Justise Winslow (shoulder surgery) out for the season, the Heat will have 10 available players.
Miami will have lost 260 player games to injury after tonight’s game.
The Cavaliers were without LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Miami’s 120-92 victory Saturday.