This is getting very interesting, very quickly. With the Spurs and Heat set to square off this evening, injuries and more players entering COVID Health and Safety protocols has Miami on the brink of being unable to field a complete enough team for the game to happen.
With PJ Tucker, Zylan Cheathham, and Gabe Vincent joining Udonis Haslem and Kyle Lowery in Health and Safety Protocols, Dewayne Dedmon, Bam Adebayo and Victor Oladipo all out with various injuries, and Jimmy Butler questionable at this time with an ankle injury, it was beginning to look like tonight’s matchup would become the 10th NBA game to be postponed this season.
However, Sun Sentinel writer Ira Winderman has confirmed that regardless of anything, the game will go on. The NBA has told the Heat to call up three players from the Austin Spurs, showing the length they will go to postpone as few games as possible. There is also a current lift on game limits for two-way players, so Caleb Martin and Marcus Garrett will count towards the roster count, allowing the Heat to field a complete enough team.
Here's where Heat-Spurs stands: NBA basically has told Heat to take any three available players from G League Austin Spurs. Heat also have injury concerns with Garrett (wrist), Robinson (chest, I believe, from early foul Tuesday). Talks ongoing.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) December 29, 2021
Nope, now with two-ways allowed unlimited games, Garrett and Martin would count. (Just got that clarified.) For latest, see latest Garrett/Robinson tweet. https://t.co/AgfhUF4aSZ— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) December 29, 2021
So far they have added Austin Spur Aric Holman, signing him to a 10-day hardship exemption, and need just one more player to field a compelte team.
Available for Heat tonight, at the moment:— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) December 29, 2021
(Must sign one more by game time, 8:30 p.m. Eastern, in San Antonio.)
The Spurs had injury updates following morning shootaround as well, but not to this extend. Lonnie Walker has been downgraded to doubtful with a right knee contusion, and two-way player Devontae Cacok has entered COVID Health and Safety Protocols.
Spurs have updated their injury report with 2 additions:— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) December 29, 2021
Lonnie Walker has been downgraded from available to doubtful with a right knee contusion.
Devontae Cacok has been downgraded from available to out after joining Dejounte Murray in the NBA's health and safety protocols.
Walker appeared to suffer the knee contusion in the second half of the Spurs’ loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday, when he landed awkwardly and came up with a slight limp, but he kept playing at the time. Cacok becomes the second Spur to enter Health and Safety Protocols, joining Dejounte Murray.
The NBA recently updated their rules to where a player can now rejoin the team after six days if he tests negative three straight times and is fever-free for 24 hours, so assuming Murray is doing well, he could now theoretically join the team as soon as their New Year’s Day game in Detroit.
This will definitely be an interesting game, with a bit of Austin vs. San Antonio vibe to it, but San Antonio must remain focused on the task at hand and not pay attention to the team on the other side of the court.