The Heat will get a key piece of their rotation back in action on Thursday, as forward Caleb Martin (knee) will be available to play.
Martin has appeared in just one game this season – the team’s season opener against the Detroit Pistons. He scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting in that game while adding three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 19:30 of playing time.
The 28-year-old was a huge piece of Miami’s rotation last season, playing 29.3 minutes per game, and he had a major role in the playoffs as well to help the Heat advance to the NBA Finals.
As for Brooklyn, the team ruled out multiple key players for Thursday’s matchup. Cam Thomas (ankle) and Ben Simmons (back) will both miss Thursday’s game. Simmons could be sidelined for some time with his injury.
Nets' Ben Simmons has been diagnosed with nerve irritation on the lower left side of his body and will miss some time, according to his agent Bernie Lee. Simmons has missed the past three games.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 14, 2023
The Nets also won’t have Armoni Brooks, Keon Johnson, Noah Clowney, Jalen Wilson and Dariq Whitehead. Those players are all on G League assignments.
Thomas is a major loss for the Nets, as he’s averaged 26.9 points per game in the eight games that he’s played in this season. A pure scorer, Thomas is shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from 3-point range.
The Nets will likely rely heavily on Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Spencer Dinwiddie to pick up the slack in the scoring department until Thomas is able to return.
For the Heat, it will be interesting to see how Erik Spoelstra configures his rotation with Martin back in the fold. It’s possible that rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. could see his minutes dip even though he is playing well.
The rookie has played over 30 minutes in three straight games for Miami. Haywood Highsmith and Duncan Robinson could also see slight dips in their minutes to get Martin back up to speed.
Regardless, the team will be much deeper with such a key player returning.
The Heat and Nets are scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. EST on Thursday night in Miami.