Heat Lose Another Star to Injury: Latest Update on P.J. Tucker’s Status

P.J. Tucker

Getty P.J. Tucker #17 of the Miami Heat celebrates after a three pointer against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center on December 17, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

The Miami Heat‘s roster continues to dwindle after forward P.J. Tucker suffered a left knee injury against the Detrott Pistons on Sunday, December 19. The veteran star exited the game with 7:32 left in the third quarter and did not return.

Tucker got hurt while jumping to challenge Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart shot around the rim, and fell hard on the court at the Little Caesars Arena. Before leaving the game, the 36-year-old recorded nine points, four rebounds, and one assist in 21 minutes of play.

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The Heat’s game faltered without Tucker, which led to Detriot nabbing their first win amid a 14-game losing streak. Losing 100-90 to league-worst Piston (5-24) is obviously not how Miami (18-13) wanted to end their four-game road trip, but thankfully, the Heat return home and have a day off before taking on the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t offer any updates on Tucker’s status during the postgame conference, but more information was revealed on Monday. The Associated Press’ Tim Reyonlods tweeted that Tucker has “left lower leg nerve inflammation” and won’t be available to play on Tuesday.

Tucker said on Monday, “I’m already feeling better than I was yesterday. So that’s good. We’ll see what happens. We just did the MRI, so we’re waiting to get the results and see what happens. Fingers crossed.”

The Heat’s Roster Is Down to 9

PJ Tucker

GettyP.J. Tucker #17 of the Miami Heat looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on December 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

While numerous teams around the NBA have dwindling rosters due to the resurgence of COVID-19, the Heat only have one player (Caleb Martin) out due to protocol, the bulk of Miami’s roster has been ruled out with injuries.

While guard Victor Oladipo has yet to play a game this season, forward Markieff Morris has missed 21 straight games after suffering whiplash during his on-court altercation with Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic on November 8. Five-time All-Star Jimmy Butler has missed 10 of the past 11 games due to bruised tailbone, and while he’s expected to return soon, an exact timeline has not been revealed.

Center Bam Adebayo, who underwent surgery for a torn ulnar collateral ligament on December 6, won’t return until January 2022. Guard Tyler Herro, who suffered a thigh contusion while playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 13, remains questionable for the Heat’s next game against the Pacers on December 21.

With Tucker already ruled out, the Heat’s roster may be down to nine players on Tuesday.

The Heat Has Played More than Half Their Games This Season on the Road

Miami Heat

Getty(L-R) Kyle Lowry #7, Dewayne Dedmon #21 and Duncan Robinson #55 of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on December 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In addition to injuries, the Heat’s roster has been fighting an uphill battle with their road trip. heavy schedule. Miami has played 19 of 31 games on the road thus far this season, for which forward Max Strus admits has not been fun.

“It has been a grind, for sure,” Strus said. “I feel like we haven’t been home at all all year, which kind of stinks.”

Not only can the Heat look forward to hosting more games at home, but Lowry is confident that once their core players return, things will start turning around. “It will be great,” Lowry said.

“Unfortunately, Jimmy went down and came back and went back down,” Lowry continued. “But that’s an important star that we’re missing. Then Caleb, he’s playing unbelievable. This time that he had to sit out with the protocols and all that stuff was unfortunate timing for him. But I think it will be great for us to get our teammates back and get back to an almost full group hopefully and go from there.

We’re still a team that we haven’t had an opportunity to play but 10 or 15 games together. I don’t know how many games we’ve played together as a full group. But we still have time to get better and figure each other out.”

READ NEXT: Heat Coach Breaks Silence on Victor Oladipo’s Return Timetable

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