The Miami Heat continue to hold out hope that Tyler Herro will return to play in the NBA Finals, but time could be running out for the guard, who has not yet received medical clearance to play again.
Spoelstra tells NBA TV that Herro hasn't received full clearance from medical staff, to play in games, despite all his progress. "Hopefully one of these days"
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) June 4, 2023
Herro has not played since April 16, when he injured his hand in Game 1 of the first round against the Milwaukee Bucks. The injury required surgery, and it was expected Herro would need at least six weeks to recover.
He took a big step when he had a brace removed from the hand last month, and he has been working hard to return, but all of his progress has not yet resulted in the ultimate goal of getting back on the court. It was reported Herro possibly could return for Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets, but he did not.
Miami has given him a chance to return by continuing to advance through the playoffs, but this is the last stop. The Heat evened the 2023 NBA Finals with a 111-108 win in Game 2 on Sunday, ensuring there will be at least five games in this best-of-seven series.
Game 3 is at Miami on Wednesday, and Game 4 is there on Friday. If the series were to go the distance to Game 7, it would end on June 18.
The Heat have continued to win despite not having their third-leading scorer from the regular season. Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Duncan Robinson have all stepped up on offense at different points to ease the pain of Herro’s absence.
Vincent, Strus and Robinson were particularly effective in Game 2 on Sunday, combining for 47 points as the Heat rallied to win. Afterward, Vincent was vocal about his team’s determination to capture the championship.
Martin has been playing so well that Paul Pierce went so far as to say that Herro’s injury may have been a blessing in disguise for Miami.
If Herro is able to come back and play, there could be lineup changes and strategy adjustments in store for both sides. With or without Herro, Miami can expect Denver to play with more determination in Game 3 after Nuggets head coach Michael Malone questioned his team’s desire following Game 2.