Erik Spoelstra dishes latest on Terry Rozier after Miami Heat guard gets ruled out for crucial game'
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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra provided an update on injured guard Terry Rozier, who will miss his second straight game on Wednesday night.

It makes sense that Miami wants to rest Rozier, as the play-in tournament and playoffs are on the horizon. But, Miami also needs to finish the regular season strong.

The Heat are currently the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference entering Wednesday night’s contest with the Dallas Mavericks. With just three regular season games left on its schedule, Miami is still 1.5 games back of the No. 6-seeded Indiana Pacers.

While the Heat have gotten through the play-in tournament before (earned the No. 8 seed last season and made the NBA Finals), the team would have less of a break for Rozier to recover if it were to participate in the play-in.

The playoffs officially begin on April 20, but the play-in tournament starts on April 16. That makes the turnaround for Rozier to be ready for any postseason play much shorter if Miami ends up in the No. 7 or No. 8 spot in the East.

Since he came to Miami in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets, Rozier is averaging 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game across 31 games (30 starts). After a rough start shooting the ball in Miami, he’s improved his percentages to 42.3 percent from the floor and 37.1 percent from 3-point range since the trade.

Rozier played through his neck injury on April 7 against the Pacers, but he struggled, scoring just four points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field in 21:45 of playing time.

After the game, he admitted that he probably shouldn’t have played through the injury.

The Heat will need other players to step up in Rozier’s absence, such as guard Tyler Herro, who recently returned to the lineup after missing significant time with a right foot injury. Herro scored 33 points in Miami’s win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

Wednesday night’s game between the Heat and Mavericks is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. EST from Kaseya Center in Miami. Dallas is on a four-game winning streak and won the first meeting between the teams this season back on March 7.

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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.