Report: Terry Rozier doesn’t have career-threatening injury, still not healthy enough despite improvement

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have found their way back into the NBA Playoffs, but they likely will not have Terry Rozier available at the start as he reportedly is not yet healthy enough to return from a neck injury.

If Rozier is indeed out on a week-to-week basis, the Heat likely would have to advance past the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round to give him a chance of returning to action this season. Game 1 is at Boston on Sunday.

Miami qualified for that first-round series by earning the No. 8 seed with a play-in round victory against the Chicago Bulls on Friday after losing to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Rozier did not play in either of those play-in games and also sat out the final four contests of the regular season. The Heat had “cautious optimism” regarding the 30-year-old’s status before the play-in round. He played through the injury during a game on April 7, which was his last appearance of the season.

The Heat also will be without leader Jimmy Butler, who is out for multiple weeks with a knee injury suffered in the play-in game against the 76ers. Despite not having Butler or Rozier against the Bulls, the Heat handled them for a 112-91 victory that has Miami emerging from the play-in round for a second straight year.

Last season, they made it all the way to the 2023 NBA Finals, defeating the Celtics along the way as well. The Heat also dealt with a significant injury at the start of that run when Tyler Herro broke his hand early in the opening game of the first round against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. He did not play again that season.

Miami has proven it can succeed despite injuries to any of its players, both during the playoffs last season and this regular season. The Heat culture will be tested again as they will be short-handed having to face a Celtics team that posted the best record in the league and will be looking for revenge after last year’s seven-game loss to the Heat in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.

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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.