The Miami Heat will start their second-round NBA playoff series the same way they ended their first-round matchup, again shorthanded.
At the top of an extended injury report released Sunday by the team for Monday’s 19:30 Eastern Conference semifinal series opener at the FTX Arena against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat have noted point guard Kyle Lowry as out due to the strain that put him on the sidelines. from the last two games in the team’s opening round against the Atlanta Hawks.
“I’m not even going on any kind of schedule,” coach Erik Spoelstra said after Sunday’s training session when asked to project the length of absence for Lowry, who was injured in the Heat’s playoff loss on April 22 in Atlanta. “I know he does more.”
Lowry has not approached the media since the day after his injury.
Third-year guard Gabe Vincent is expected to start again in place of Lowry, as he did at the end of the Atlanta series.
“I think it looks like most of the year,” Vincent said, “always preparing to play starting minutes and preparing to play a lot of the game and be in a lot of situations.”
Lowry’s absence also means opening the door for an increased role for guard Victor Oladipo, who re-emerged as a rotation player late in the Hawks series.
The Heat listed six other players as questionable for Game 1 against Philadelphia, where the most likely of those who would miss the game was striker Markieff Morris, who was away from the team for Sunday’s training session due to a non-Covid illness. . Morris did not play in the first round against Atlanta.
Also listed as questionable by the Heat was Jimmy Butler, with knee pain that kept him out of Tuesday’s preliminary Game 5 win over the Hawks; PJ Tucker, with the calf strain he incurred at the end of the regular season, one that did not require lost time in the first round; Caleb Martin, with an ankle sprain; Max Strus, with a strain in the buttocks; and Tyler Herro, with upper respiratory tract disease.
The last five players all attended Sunday’s practice, and so did Lowry.
“Look, we’ve had so many different rotations and lineups over the year that we’ve been forced to stay in the present moment,” Spoelstra said. “And we have great care and empathy for the guys who have missed time.
“But we just have to completely lock ourselves in who is available. Everyone else is ready to go. And we have a big challenge.”
The lone starter from the Heats primary lineup who is not included in the injury report is center Bam Adebayo.
“We’ve had a lot of guys throughout the season,” Adebayo said. “I feel like the rest of the team is built for it. We are aware that Lowry is out due to an injury, so it’s just the next man. We always preach that.”
For the 76s, center Joel Embiid did not travel due to the orbital fracture and concussion that was inflicted in Philadelphia’s series victory on the road Friday night over the Toronto Raptors.
“This is a series that could potentially change on both sides three or four times,” Spoelstra said. ‘It could feel completely different in the middle of it. So that’s why you can exhaust yourself with all the different hypotheses. ”
Embiid threatens as an opportunity for a return in Friday night’s match 3 when the series moves to Philadelphia, following Wednesday’s match 2 at the FTX Arena.
“You basically know for both teams who is going to play game 1,” Spoelstra said. “And that’s how it should be. You should not think of a game 2, a game 3 and a game 4, anything earlier than that. Just to embrace the competition and what lies ahead. ”