DENVER – Optimsm turned into a continued waiting game Sunday for the Miami Heat, with Tyler Herro remaining sidelined in his recovery from a broken hand.
While the Heat on Saturday had listed the fourth-year guard as out for Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena, the league allows for changes in such status on game days.
Ultimately, despite a report by ESPN of a possible Herro return Sunday, the target date now moves to Wednesday’s Game 3, when the best-of-seven series shifts from Ball Arena to the first of two games at Kaseya Center.
There were two Sunday changes on the Heat’s injury report ahead of Game 2, with forward Caleb Martin, who had missed Saturday’s practice due to illness, and center Cody Zeller, who is dealing with a sprained right foot, both upgraded to available. They previously had been listed as questionable.
The Nuggets have not had any listings on their injury report during the series.
With Herro sitting out Sunday, it provides three additional days and one more practice to work his way back in with the team.
Still unclear if Herro is cleared to return to uniform is whether he would be reinserted in the rotation, in light of the Heat’s playoff success with a revised rotation. He had been a starter until going down with his injury during the first half of the Heat’s first playoff game on April 16, undergoing surgery days later amid that series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Herro has traveled with the Heat throughout the postseason, including series victories over the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals and Boston Celtics in the East finals. He has been on the court with the Heat during their NBA Finals practice sessions, as well as working alone with assistant coach Chris Quinn.
“We’re doing this game-by-game,” coach Erik Spoelstra has said of the approach with Herro.
With Herro sidelined, and with Victor Oladipo out since the Heat’s third game of the postseason with a surgical knee injury that has him out for months, the Heat have been limited in their backcourt options, particularly with combo guards, with Herro and Oladipo having served as ballhandlers and playmakers.
Oladipo is not traveling with the team, but has been in attendance at home games since his surgery.
In the absence of Herro, additional playing time has gone to Martin, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, with Duncan Robinson also returning to the Heat mix after previously being shuffled out of the rotation.
Herro said ahead of the NBA Finals that his intention was to be back in the playing mix.
“I’m going to be working out every day, twice, two or three times a day, from here until the day I hopefully come back,” he had said. “So I’m just going to continue to work hard and see how my body responds day by day and I’m trying to come back as soon as possible.”
After the Heat won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at TD Garden last Monday, Herro spoke of the meaning of being on the bench during game nights.
“Just being here with the team has been awesome, just to see the guys rally around each other. And it’s been good. I’m excited to have the opportunity to possibly play again this season,” he said.
With the intent to do so, poised to begin the next phase of a career that includes the start of a four-year, $130 million extension next season.
“There’s a little soreness in my hand, still,” he said last week. “But it’s all just post-surgery scar tissue and stuff like that I’m trying to work through right now, and I would love to come back for the Finals and we’ll see how my hand feels.”