Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson out with strained left shoulder

 

 

 

Miami Tyler Johnson strained his left shoulder during Thursday's game against the Dallas Mavericks and will not play tonight against the Bucks.  (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)
Miami Tyler Johnson strained his left shoulder during Thursday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks and will not play tonight against the Bucks. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)

MIAMI – Tyler Johnson’s problematic left shoulder has become an issue once again.

The Heat guard will miss tonight’s game against the Bucks with a strained left shoulder. Although he is listed as day-to-day, the shoulder has caused Johnson to miss several games throughout his career.

Johnson was injured during the Heat’s 99-95 victory over the Mavericks on Thursday, in which he scored 23 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Johnson is not sure when the injury occurred.

“I could see it bothering him in the fourth quarter and then after the game he was doing a lot of treatment, (Friday) all day treatment it just didn’t get much better,” Spoelstra said.

“He went through shoot around today it did not get better so he’s not going to play.”

Johnson has not had an MRI yet, according to Spoelstra, who added, “we just went through a bunch of examinations here.”

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Johnson has had a history of shoulder problems dating back to his college days at Fresno State.

Last season he missed eight games in December with a strained left shoulder and then 36 games from late January into the playoffs, after having rotator cuff surgery.

Johnson returned for the final game of the Heat’s opening round victory over Charlotte and then played in four of the seven games against Toronto.

Johnson has missed three games this season because of illness and dental surgery. He is third on the team in scoring averaging 14.2 points despite coming off the bench for all 40 games he has played.

The Heat, who are also without Chris Bosh (blood clots), Justise Winslow (shoulder surgery), Josh McRoberts (foot) and Josh Richardson (foot), will have lost an NBA-high 182 games to injuries after tonight.

Miami already has received an exemption to add a 16th player to the roster under the league’s hardship exception and if Johnson misses three games and then it is determined he cannot play for another two weeks, Miami could add another player.

Forward Okaro White was signed to a 10-day contract Tuesday and guard Briante Weber likely would be next in line if the Heat need to bring up a guard.

 

Okaro White: Briante Weber knows his NBA opportunity is coming

Briante Weber #11 of the Sioux Falls Skyforce drives against Xavier Munford #5 from the Greensboro Swarm at the Sanford Pentagon November 29, 2016 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Briante Weber #11 of the Sioux Falls Skyforce drives against Xavier Munford #5 from the Greensboro Swarm at the Sanford Pentagon November 29, 2016 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images)

MIAMI — Okaro White was the D-League player the Heat signed to a 10-day contract this week, but he’s not the only intriguing NBA prospect on the Sioux Falls Skyforce roster.

“Briante Weber and Keith Benson. Hands down, they are NBA players,” White said. “It’s just funny how it works here. Even last year with the team they had with the kind of players they had, no one got a call up but Briante. But hands down. Seeing it in practice and seeing it in games, hands down Briante is an NBA player and Keith Benson. I think it’s only a matter of time.” Continue reading “Okaro White: Briante Weber knows his NBA opportunity is coming”

Miami Heat granted extra roster spot under hardship rule with plan to use it to sign Okaro White

MIAMI — Injuries have hurt the Heat since the start of the season. But for once, Miami will benefit — even if just a little — from its long list of injuries.

The Heat have been granted an additional roster spot on top of the NBA’s standard 15-player limit under the NBA’s hardship rule, coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed after Monday’s practice. Miami has not filled the 16th roster spot yet, but it is expected to use it on forward Okaro White. Continue reading “Miami Heat granted extra roster spot under hardship rule with plan to use it to sign Okaro White”

Heat guard Josh Richardson ‘week-to-week’ with foot injury; forward Okaro White expected to join team

 

 

Heat guard Josh Richardson shoots against Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. in a recent game this season in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Heat guard Josh Richardson shoots against Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. in a game this season in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI – It does not appear that Josh Richardson will be returning anytime soon.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra today acknowledged Richardson, who has missed the last three games because of a sprained left foot, is “week-to-week” instead of day-to-day. Miami’s second year guard had an X-ray and MRI taken more than a week ago revealing the injury.,

“It is still only a sprain, he is getting better but he still is in a boot,” Spoelstra said following Heat practice today.

As a result of the injury, the Heat have applied for, and are expecting to receive, an additional roster spot under the NBA’s hardship rule, according to a team spokesperson. Forward Okaro White, who plays for Miami’s D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, will be working out for the team on Monday and is expected to fill that spot.

In order for Miami to add a 16th player to the roster, an NBA doctor had to confirm that four total players would miss an additional two weeks after sitting out at least three consecutive games. Richardson’s  injury would fulfill that requirement with Chris Bosh (blood clots), Josh McRoberts (foot) and Justise Winslow (shoulder) all expected to miss  the rest of the season.

The 6-foot-8 White, from Florida State, is averaging 18.0 points and 8.9 rebounds in 21 games for the Skyforce. He averaged 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Heat during the preseason before being waived.

The Heat opted to bring in White over guard Briante Weber, who was the final player cut by the Heat during training camp. He is the top NBA prospect in the D-League’s “Prospect Watch” Top 25 rankings. Weber is averaging 14.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 3.2 steals. Weber had a tryout with the Philadelphia 76ers last week but did not get the roster spot.

Miami (11-30) starts a four-game home stand Tuesday against the Rockets.

“None of us is feeling sorry for ourselves, that’s the way this season has been,” Spoelstra said. “I’m learning a lot. The guys are getting better, guys are coming in with an approach to not having excuses, just to work to get better every single day. I really commend the group for that.”

Richardson is dealing with his third injury of the season that has cost him 13 games so far and the entire training camp. He missed  training camp and the start of the season after partially tearing an MCL in his right knee during the summer and then sat out six games because of a sprained ankle.

“It’s crazy,” Richardson said a week ago of the injuries. “I’ve never been hurt. I guess it comes with it. I’ve never played an NBA schedule in its entirety, so I guess it’s what comes with it.”

Backup center Willie Reed’s bruised sternum that forced him to miss Friday’s loss in Milwaukee is improving but Reed still was unable to go through contact work today. He did get in his running and non-contact work.

“During the non-contact part, there was some soreness,” said Reed, who remains hopeful he can return Tuesday. “All in all, I’m fine. We’re just going to see how it feels when you take a blow to it. That’s the biggest key.”

Reed was injured early in the Heat’s recent six-game road trip while guarding Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins. He played the next three games, averaging 10 points and 8.7 rebounds, including scoring 22 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against the Lakers, before sitting in Milwaukee.

“I was chesting up on (Cousins) and took a blow to the chest repeatedly in one possession,” Reed said. “Then it happened again guarding David West (three games later at Golden State). Playing through it and getting hit again took its toll.”

The Heat are at the midway point of the season with the second worst record in the league,  only ahead of Brooklyn

“We’re going to fight to the end,” guard Goran Dragic said. “We have to, especially how this season is progressing. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. That’s why we need to compete every minute, every hour, every practice and try to get better.”

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Philadelphia 76ers pass on Briante Weber for open roster spot after Monday tryout

A portrait of Briante Weber #12 of the Miami Heat on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
A portrait of Briante Weber #12 of the Miami Heat on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Briante Weber will have to continue waiting for his next NBA opportunity.

Weber completed his Monday tryout with the Philadelphia 76ers, but he did not get the roster spot, according to a source close to the situation. The 76ers will use the roster spot to sign Chasson Randle to a 10-day contract, according to The Vertical. Continue reading “Philadelphia 76ers pass on Briante Weber for open roster spot after Monday tryout”

Will the Miami Heat lose Briante Weber? Point guard has Monday tryout with Philadelphia 76ers

Briante Weber #11 of the Sioux Falls Skyforce drives against Xavier Munford #5 from the Greensboro Swarm at the Sanford Pentagon November 29, 2016 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Briante Weber #11 of the Sioux Falls Skyforce drives against Xavier Munford #5 from the Greensboro Swarm at the Sanford Pentagon November 29, 2016 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Briante Weber fought for a roster spot on the Heat in the preseason and didn’t get it.

The point guard has played impressive basketball with the Heat’s D-League affiliate ever since and will get another opportunity to earn a spot in the NBA this week. Weber is scheduled for a Monday tryout with the Philadelphia 76ers. Continue reading “Will the Miami Heat lose Briante Weber? Point guard has Monday tryout with Philadelphia 76ers”

Injury-ravaged Miami Heat not eligible to add additional roster spot — why?

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra instructs his team in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra instructs his team in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The Heat are shorthanded, but not shorthanded enough apparently.

Even though three players on the current 15-man roster could miss the rest of the season, Miami is not eligible to add an additional player as reinforcement. Continue reading “Injury-ravaged Miami Heat not eligible to add additional roster spot — why?”

Will the Heat be able to keep Briante Weber with their D-League affiliate?

Briante Weber #11 of the Sioux Falls Skyforce drives against Xavier Munford #5 from the Greensboro Swarm at the Sanford Pentagon November 29, 2016 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Briante Weber #11 of the Sioux Falls Skyforce drives against Xavier Munford #5 from the Greensboro Swarm at the Sanford Pentagon November 29, 2016 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Briante Weber didn’t make the Heat’s 15-man roster to start the season. But he could be on an NBA roster soon.

The 23-year-old point guard is drawing a lot of attention for his play with the Heat’s NBA Development League affiliate this season. Weber is averaging 13.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists and a league-leading 3.2 steals in 13 games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Continue reading “Will the Heat be able to keep Briante Weber with their D-League affiliate?”

Sioux Falls well represented on Miami Heat, in NBA

Rodney McGruder, shown stealing the ball from Orlando Magic's Elfrid Payton during Heat's win Wednesday, is one of 10 former Skyforce players in the NBA. (AP Photo)
Rodney McGruder, shown stealing the ball from Orlando Magic’s Elfrid Payton during Heat’s win Wednesday, is one of 10 former Skyforce players in the NBA. (AP Photo)

The Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s D-League affiliate, has 10 former players on NBA opening day rosters including four on the Heat.

Heat guards Rodney McGruder, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson and center Hassan Whiteside are Skyforce alums. McGruder beat out Beno Udrih and Briante Weber for the final roster spot and then played 24 minutes and scored six points in his NBA debut Wednesday during Miami’s season opening win in Orlando. McGruder played the entire 2015-16 season in Sioux Falls, averaging 15.8 points and 5.3 rebounds. Johnson played part of the 2014-15 season with Sioux Falls. Whiteside played in the D-League for parts of four years, including eight games with Sioux Falls. Richardson played four games with the Skyforce last year.

McGruder, DeAndre Liggins and Jarnell Stokes ended the 2015-16 season with the D-League champions and were among the Skyforce’s top players. Stokes, who made the Denver Nuggets, led Sioux Falls with 20.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in 28 regular season games. Liggins, who stuck with the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, averaged a team-high 7.0 assists and 13.0 points in 34 games.

Other former Skyforce players on NBA rosters: Alexis Ajinca, New Orleans; Justin Hamilton, Brooklyn; Amir Johnson, Boston and Shabazz Napier, Portland.

Sioux Falls opens its season Nov. 12 at home against Salt Lake City.

[Miami Heat use strong defense to begin season with 108-96 win over Orlando Magic]

[Miami Heat pick up the pace and run past the Orlando Magic in season opener]

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Five takeaways from the Miami Heat’s 108-96 victory at the Orlando Magic

Miami's Rodney McGrude, comers up with a loose ball as he gets between Orlando Magic's D.J. Augustin, and Jeff Green during the Heat's victory Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Raoux
Miami’s Rodney McGruder (center) contributed six points off the bench in his NBA debut during  the Heat’s victory in Orlando Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO — The Miami Heat got off to a solid start with a 108-96 victory over the Magic to open the season.

From Hassan Whiteside to rookie Rodney McGruder, all nine players who saw action contributed.

And although coach Erik Spoelstra warned it’s just one game, it was fun to watch.

Here are our five takeaways from the season opener.

1. The Heat dominated in the paint: The Magic strength is supposed to be its size but the Heat destroyed that by outscoring Orlando 74-36 in the paint. The Magic was missing Bismack Biyombo (suspended one game for too many flagrant fouls during last year’s playoffs), but one player would not have overcome a 38 point difference. “That’s who we were tonight but that’s certainly an identity we tried to create since training camp,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s not always going to work out that way. We had a couple of games in preseason where people were taking away the paint and we had to take advantage of the three-point line. Yes, we want to be an attack team first. … but we also have to play what’s given to us.”

2. Rodney McGruder is more than a 15th man: What a nice debut for a player who supposedly was in a fight with Beno Udrih and Briante Weber for the final roster spot. McGruder was told on Saturday he made an NBA roster for the first time and in his first game he enters in the first quarter and plays 24 productive minutes. He was energetic and fit right into Miami’s up-tempo style. McGruder finished with six points on 1 of 3 shooting and got to the line five times, making four.

3. This bench ain’t bad: If you were concerned about the Heat’s bench entering the season, Wednesday’s season opener should have made you feel better. Miami got 42 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists from its bench against the Magic. Tyler Johnson led the charge with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and six rebounds and three assists. James Johnson helped out with 11 points and six assists and Willie Reed finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Without an elite scorer to carry the offense, the Heat need their bench to contribute this season. Miami’s bench did more than just contribute in the opener … and that’s with Josh Richardson, Josh McRoberts and Wayne Ellington out with injuries.

4. Justise Winslow doesn’t need the three: When the Heat began training camp in September, everybody wanted to know if Justise Winslow had improved his three-point shot. And in case you’re wondering, Winslow and Heat coaches believe the three-point shot will be better this season. But the 20-year-old proved Wednesday he doesn’t need the three ball to be effective. Despite missing both of his three-point shot attempts against the Magic, Winslow finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Winslow could just end up being a player who never develops into a reliable three-point shooter, and that’s OK. It worked out pretty well for Dwyane Wade.

5. Defense wins games: You can focus on the Heat’s offense all you want, but this team will only be as good as its defense. Defense led the way for Miami in the opener, as the Heat held the Magic to 38.6 shooting. Defense helped Miami overcome 4-of-16 shooting from three, and 10-of-16 shooting from the free throw line Wednesday. Defense will mask a lot of the Heat’s imperfections this season.