AJ Hammons returns to practice, hopes to prove he belongs on Heat’s 15-man roster

MIAMI — After spending the past week away from the team due to the flu, AJ Hammons returned to practice Tuesday.

Hammons has yet to play in the preseason. He was available for the preseason opener against the Hawks on Oct. 1 but didn’t get any playing time, and he missed the past three preseason games due to the illness.

“Any time you take anything more than a day and a half or two days off, it’s going to hurt you so it’s good to get back in here,” Hammons said Tuesday of his time away from the team.

Miami Heat center AJ Hammons poses for a photo during the NBA team’s media day, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Hammons, a 25-year-old center, was acquired from the Mavericks this summer in the Josh McRoberts trade. He played in 22 games for Dallas last season and averaged 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 7.4 minutes.

While he still has a lot left to prove to the Heat, he’s expected to make the 15-man regular-season roster because of his guaranteed contract. Hammons is under contract for two more years at $1.3 million for the upcoming season and $1.5 million for 2018-19. If the Heat decide to waive him, that money would still count against their salary cap for both seasons.

When asked if he feels confident about his spot on the 15-man roster, Hammons said: “I just wish I hadn’t missed that week. I’m just trying to get back out there and show them I could do it.”

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