Context provided after concerning images of Nikola Jovic in Serbia emerge'
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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic was seen wearing a walking boot on his left leg and using a scooter after landing in Belgrade, Serbia on Thursday.

There were multiple photos shared of the Heat youngster that seemed to be concerning, but it appears it was more of a precautionary measure for Jovic.

“Wearing an orthopedic boot is connected to a minor injury in his last training session in Miami, according to Serbian outlet Meridian sport,”’s Johnny Askounis wrote.

“Despite the injury setback, he is expected to join the team practices next Monday, as initially scheduled per the agreement between the NBA and FIBA regarding international players in the league based in North America.”

A first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Jovic saw his role with the Heat expand in his second season in the NBA.

The 21-year-old appeared in 46 games and made 38 starts. He averaged 7.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game for Miami while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 39.9 percent from beyond the arc.

He also played a big role for Miami in the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics, starting all five games in the series and averaging 25.6 minutes per game. Jovic averaged 9.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game against Boston while shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range.

The 2023-24 season was a massive improvement compared to Jovic’s rookie campaign, where he played very sparingly with Miami.

During his rookie season, Jovic only appeared in 15 games for the Heat. He showcased some of his talent, averaging 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game while shooting 40.6 percent from the field. He also spent time in the G League developing as a rookie.

Despite the minor injury, it appears that Jovic still plans on playing for Serbia in the Olympics this summer.

“Switching focus to international basketball, Jovic is projected to make the final squad of Serbia,” Askounis wrote. “The team coached by Svetislav Pesic recently launched preparations for the Olympic Games.”

Playing on the international stage should help Jovic continue his development this offseason ahead of his third season in the NBA.

The Heat are hoping he can build on his second professional season, especially since they could need him to play a bigger role. Many players on the team could become free agents this offseason.

Josh Richardson, Kevin Love and Caleb Martin all have player options for the 2024-25 season and could opt out to become free agents.

Hopefully, Jovic is able to shed his walking boot sooner rather than later to get back to training for the Olympics this offseason.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.