Ex-Laker, Heat Guard Reveals Turbulent First Year in Miami

avery bradley

Getty Avery Bradley #11 of the Miami Heat warms up prior to the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena on December 29, 2020.

Avery Bradley’s first year with the Miami Heat isn’t going according to plan. He has missed 13 games in the reboot because of a variety of unfortunate reasons, mainly due to health and safety protocols after he tested positive for COVID-19 in early January.

Bradley, who received a championship ring in the bubble despite opting out of the restart, strained his right calf muscle last week versus the Washington Wizards so the 30-year-old is back on the shelf. The former Los Angeles Lakers defensive specialist is averaging 8.5 points and 1.4 assists in 21.1 minutes per game for the Heat.

The 13-year NBA veteran is out for three to four weeks and hopes to play in a few games before the All-Star break. Bradley told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman that he is targeting a March 4 return.

“I hope I can get some games. That’s a long break after missing 14 days with COVID and now this,” Bradley said. “I hope I can get some games under my belt before the break. But like I said, my main focus is making sure I’m smart about this injury so there’s no more setbacks, so I can come back 100-percent.”

The one-time NBA champion also went into detail about exactly how the calf injury occurred. He was guarding Bradley Beal and coming off a pick-and-roll when he felt a “pop.” The Heat medical team confirmed it was nothing severe, according to Bradley, and he just needs to let the scar tissue heal up. The COVID-19 stuff was scarier for Bradley since his son has respiratory issues.

“It’s just a blessing that no one in my household got COVID,” Bradley said. “It made me feel a lot more at ease. It was just frustrating knowing that the virus is still around. It’s been tough. It’s been tough for me and my family. But we’re getting through it.”

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Heat Update Injuries Ahead of Knicks Game

The Heat updated their official injury report ahead of tonight’s game versus the New York Knicks, too. Goran Dragic (ankle), Moe Harkless (thigh) and Chris Silva (hip) have all been ruled out. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Miami.

Tyler Herro appears fully healed from the nagging neck injury that limited him a few weeks ago. He’s also back in the coaching staff’s good graces after being benched for one game on Feb. 5. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra cautioned everyone not to read too much into it.

“Tyler is going to play starter’s minutes regardless,” Spoelstra said. “So it’s just about him managing the narrative. His offensive skill set, we really need and it’s a great punch off the bench.”

True to his word, Herro played 32 minutes in Sunday’s game and Miami will need to rely on their budding star guard more tonight with Dragic out. The 21-year-old doesn’t care about coming off the bench as long as the Heat gets back to winning basketball games.

“I just want to be able to do whatever helps the team,” Herro said. “If me coming off the bench is what’s best for the team, then so be it.”

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