The Miami Heat‘s six-time All-star Kyle Lowry has been ruled out for the team’s upcoming home game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, January 23, which marks the fourth consecutive game he’s missed due to personal reasons.
While the bulk of the Heat’s roster has been ruled out over the past few months due to injuries or health and safety protocols, the 35-year-old veteran point guard, who signed a 3-year, $85 million contract with Miami in free agency, has been one of the most consistent and dependable players on the team.
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Few details have been revealed as to the reason behind Lowry’s absence and Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra has not provided any updates on his return timeline.
Losing Lowry, who’s averaging 13.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game thus far this season, is a tough blow for Miami, but the team’s reserve has stepped up big time in his absence. Overall this season, Lowry has missed a total of seven games, during which the Heat’s record is 5-2.
The last game Lowry appeared in was during the team’s 109-98 loss against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 15.
Spoelstra Said He’s Waiting for Lowry to Return Before Settling on a Regular Starting Lineup
The Heat have admirably managed to keep winning despite all the adversity they’ve faced this season. They head into Sunday’s away game against the Lakers with a 29-17 record, just one loss behind the first-place Brooklyn Nets.
After signing a series of players to 10-day contracts under the NBA’s emergency protocols, the Heat’s starting lineup has been a revolving door of newly-signed fill-ins, and the team’s healthy bench players. With Lowry out, Heat guard Gabe Vincent has been starting in his place.
Prior to Friday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, Spoelstra said the ever-shifting starting lineup will settle in once Lowry returns.
“I want to get back to that lineup whenever we can, when Kyle gets back here, and then just give that a chance,” Spoelstra said, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman.
“We’ll build our rotation from there. Then we have the depth to be able to adjust or manage it as needed.”
4 Other Heat Players Were Ruled Out for Sunday’s Game
In addition to Lowry, the Heat will be without a few more of their regular roster members. Tyler Herro remains out after being placed in health and safety protocols on January 19. KZ Okpala hasn’t played since December 28 due to a sprained wrist.
Markieff Morris still hasn’t returned to action since taking a blindside hit from Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic on November 8, and guard Victor Oladipo has yet to play in a game this season.
Heat’s P.J. Tucker exited Friday night’s game with 3:56 remaining the first quarter due to left knee irritation. Tucker, who previously missed four games in December with lower left leg nerve inflammation, remains questionable for Sunday’s game.
“P.J. wanted to [play] coming out of halftime,” Spoelstra said, as reported by Miami Herald‘s Anthony Chiang. “We just told him we got to think big picture. The knee irritation was a little bit stiff. We’ll give him treatment and evaluate him when we get back to Miami.”