McRoberts, who has been recovering from a stress reaction that was a result of a broken left foot he suffered in the playoffs last spring against Toronto, was more definitive about his availability when asked if could play tonight.
“I think so,” he said. “I always think I’m ready. We’ll see. I always want to be out there. I’ve been ready at this point. I still haven’t talked to (Spoelstra) about tonight or Monday. We’ll see.”
The Heat conclude the two-game trip Monday in Oklahoma City.
Their return will alter Spoelstra’s nine-man rotation and possibly his starting lineup.
“Welcome to the NBA,” Spoelstra said when asked about dealing with, and adjusting to, injuries. “It’s not frustration. It’s not my first year coaching. I don’t think I ever had a year where rotation and your top eight or nine are set in stone from Day 1. That’s why you try to build versatility, build depth.”
MIAMI – The excitement was in the air at the Miami Heat practice today.
“Everybody’s excited,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Today it felt like a gym full of 7th graders trying to keep their attention. Everybody just wants the game to be here. It was good positive anxious energy in the gym. I think a lot of the guys kind of wish we were playing tonight.”
While the NBA season tips off tonight, the Heat have to wait 24 hours before we see this new look team in Orlando (7 p.m.).
And with seven new plays, three new starters and the loss of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat have undergone a major overhaul.
“There’s a (unknown) with this group,” Spoelstra said. “It makes it fun. Every year you don’t know what to expect. But all things considered a lot of change this summer. We do feel good about the foundational pieces we have here. We feel good about the group we were able to add. We think they fit our personality. Also in the last month we like the way our group has come together.”
Spoelstra will not reveal his starting lineup until Wednesday but this much is sure, guard Goran Dragic, forward Justise Winslow and center Hassan Whiteside will be among the first five. Either Derrick Williams or Luke Babbitt likely will start at power forward and Dion Waiters appears to be the starter at shooting guard.
As for the rotation, Spoelstra said he will probably play nine. He will have just 11 heathy players with Josh Richardson (knee), Josh McRoberts (foot) and Wayne Ellington (thigh) out.
“It is fluid,” Spoelstra said about the lineup. “Is it going to change every game? I don’t expect that and I don’t want that. I’m open to what will happen with this team. I don’t have all the answers right now and that’s okay. We’re going to be a team that evolves and gets better each month. How we look tomorrow night we’ll hopefully look different in January and February and March.”
Spoelstra touched on the minutes he expects his two anchors, Whiteside and Dragic, to play. He’s looking to increase Whiteside, 27 to 34 to 36 minutes up from 29 a year ago and keep Dragic, 30, in the low 30s.
The Heat are also expecting to be without forward James Johnson, who injured his foot during the second quarter Tuesday. Johnson was limited during practice today.
“He didn’t go today,” said Spoelstra, who characterized the injury as a tweaked ankle. “Mostly on the side. Walked through some things.”
Johnson said the injury has been persistent and he decided to be cautious.
“It was just an aggravating thing that’s been happening,” he said. “I’ve been getting treatment and stuff like that but it’s been bothering me and just taking a precautionary (approach).”
Spoelstra said Johnson is day to day, as is Justise Winslow and Luke Babbitt, although they both could return against Charlotte.
Winslow sat out Tuesday with a sore back and Babbitt has missed the last three games with a groin injury.
Both were on the court today shooting and waking through practice.
Spoelstra said he will not treat the final two preseason games much differently than he has the first six. Although in the only other set of back-to-back games during the preseason, Spoelstra sat several members of the rotation Saturday in Louisville following Friday’s game in San Antonio.
“We’ll try to continue to do what we’ve been doing, working our habits looking at guys, evaluating, trying to get better with our system,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t know exactly who will be available each game. I’ll make it work.”
Miami concludes the preseason with a home game against Philadelphia on Friday.