The Miami Heat will be getting one familiar face back tonight when Tyler Herro returns from a neck injury. However, Jimmy Butler (health and safety protocols) and Goran Dragic (groin) remain out for the first home game with fans this year at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The team announced the injury updates an hour prior to Thursday night’s tip-off against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Heat is riding a four-game losing streak and enter the contest as five-point home underdogs. Head coach Erik Spoelstra continues to praise the resolve of his squad which has been without key starters for multiple games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Look, the spirit of our group is great,” Spoelstra told reporters after Wednesday’s 109-82 loss. “I love the way this group just keeps on coming back and not making excuses for anything. It was great to see the guys … everybody, even though everybody wasn’t available, to see everybody and the group together. And nobody feels good when we play like this but the good thing about this, and the good thing about the NBA and our schedule is, we get to come back tomorrow night and get after it again.”
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Heat Employing Coronavirus-Sniffing Dogs
The talk of the country has been centered on the Heat’s decision to employ coronavirus-sniffing dogs tonight. The team has invited about 2,000 season ticket-holders to the game and those fans will be screened by COVID-19 detection dogs at the entrance to the stadium. The animals can detect the scent of the virus from human sweat, per NBC News.
“We’re familiar with explosive detection canines, drug dogs and so forth, and in this case, the dogs are trained on the odor of the virus, or the metabolic changes of a person that produce an odor that they can be trained to alert to,” said Kenneth Furton, the provost and executive vice president of Florida International University.
The COVID-19 dogs have names: Abby, Tina, Happy, Magni. All four dogs are the breed of Belgian Malinois, per the Sun-Sentinel — and, led by a trainer, they will sniff every spectator before they can enter the arena.
Heat Coach Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
The National Basketball Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association has awarded Heat strength and conditioning coach Bill Foran with the inaugural Bill Foran Lifetime Achievement Award, per a press release.
Foran is in his 33rd season with Miami after originally joining the organization in 1988. He is the former president and co-founder of the National Basketball Conditioning Coaches Association and was inducted into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014.
“I am humbled and honored to be the first recipient of the National Basketball Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award,” Foran said in a press release. “To have it named in my honor is absolutely amazing.”
The Bill Foran Lifetime Achievement Award will honor exceptional and elite performance coaches across the NBA to reflect the historic impact on the profession at the highest level.