The Miami Heat defeated the Washington Wizards 128- 124 on Saturday night, a tighter game than expected since both D.C. All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal were ruled out on January 9. While the offensive showdown was exciting to watch, it was worrisome to see Heat star Meyers Leonard playing through what appeared to serious pain.
“It was pretty evident that he was in a lot of discomfort,” Associated Press reporter Tim Reynolds commented to Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra during the post-game press conference.
“Yeah, so it’s a shoulder strain at this point. That’s all I know,” Spoelstra said. “For him to go out in that matter, he was in some pain. We’ll hope for the best.”
Reynolds also inquired as to whether to not Leonard will need X-rays or an MRI before the Heat takes on the Celtics on Sunday night at the TD Garden, “I don’t even know at this point,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a shame. Those were good minutes while he was out there.”
When the 28-year-old power forward entered the game on Saturday, it was the first time Coach Spo sent him on the court since December 29. After Leonard sustained his shoulder injury, he gutted through his eight minutes of play against the Wizards, nabbing four rebounds, one assist, and one point.
As for the team’s upcoming road game in Boston on Sunday night, Leonard is considered questionable.
Leonard Was Bumped from the Starting Lineup Last Season After Suffering an Ankle Injury
On December 31, Leonard shared photos on Instagram from February 3, 2020, the night he seriously sprained his ankle, and wrote, “Pain. That’s what I felt. A hell of a lot of pain – physically and emotionally. But that’s 2020, right? As crazy as this may sound, I wouldn’t change it for anything and I’ll explain why.”
“I’ve learned over the years and throughout my life that pain and suffering are actually what makes a person,” the 28-year-old center continued. “Not success or the easy times. When we build a certain threshold for pain and suffering, we then know what we’re capable of dealing with and handling as new challenges arise in our lives. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard as hell sometimes, but it will all get better.”
“I’ve been blessed in many ways in my life and I’ll be forever grateful. Make no mistake, though – I’m thankful for the pain and suffering too. To my wife, my family, friends, fans and everyone else – THANK YOU. Happy New Year everyone.”
Leonard was able to rehab his ankle during the NBA’s league suspension due to COVID-19, but he was replaced with Jae Crowder once the season restarted. After missing 16 games before the NBA shut down, Spoelstra didn’t rush Leonard back into the lineup.
Jimmy Butler Sent a Strong Message to Leonard on How He Can Stay Healthy
After reading Leonard’s vulnerable post, teammate Jimmy Butler had one very strong message to share with his buddy, and he wrote it in all caps. “NO. MORE. EURO. STEPS.!!!!” — which is likely Butler’s way of saying, “I love you, man. And I need you to stay healthy.”
On Saturday night, Butler trailed just behind Tyler Herro, who scored a team-high 31 points. Butler racked up 26 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.