Report: Miami Heat have ‘cautious optimism’ about Terry Rozier as he gets more tests done on neck

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat reportedly are cautiously optimistic regarding the status of Terry Rozier heading into their play-in round game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Rozier missed the final four games of the regular season with a neck issue that he at first attempted to play through. He also missed four games in February while dealing with a knee injury.

The 30-year-old was acquired by Miami in January in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets. In 31 regular season games with the Heat, he averaged 16.4 points per game, well below his usual full-season scoring averages. He also contributed 4.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest for Miami.

Duncan Robinson also sat out the season finale because of a lingering back issue. He missed the last four games after he had returned to play in five contests. Kevin Love played just over three minutes on Sunday as he suffered an arm injury.

The Heat undoubtedly will need all hands on deck as they attempt to emerge from the play-in round for a second straight season and pursue a return to the NBA Finals. They finished the regular season as the eighth-place team in the Eastern Conference and play at the seventh-place 76ers on Wednesday.

The winner of that game will qualify for the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and set up a series against the No. 2 seed New York Knicks. The loser on Wednesday will have another opportunity for a play-in victory that would then make them the No. 8 seed, creating a matchup against the No. 1 seed Boston Celtics.

Entering an important game not knowing who might be available has been an unfortunate familiar occurrence for Miami this season. The Heat used 21 different players during the regular season, with 18 different players starting at least one game. Bam Adebayo and rookie Jamie Jaquez Jr. were the only Heat players to appear in more than 70 games.

Miami has shown the ability to navigate the postseason no matter the obstacles it may face, but the Heat have to be hopeful they are able to begin yet another quest with Rozier available on Wednesday.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.