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.”