Heat Lose Starting Power Forward to Injury in Preseason Opener

P.J. Tucker injury

Getty P.J. Tucker #17 of the Miami Heat poses for a photo during Media Day at FTX Arena on September 27, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

The Miami Heat exploded in their first preseason game at the FTX Arena on Monday night, defeating the Atlanta Hawks 125-99.

With Jimmy Butler having the night off, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra started Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and P.J. Tucker, the latter of whom suffered an injury in the first half of the game.

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“P.J. Tucker left tonight’s game vs the Hawks with a right groin strain and will not return,” Miami Heat’s official account tweeted, which could be a huge blow for the Heat’s starting lineup if he requires ample time to heal.

After the game, Spoelstra provided an update on Tucker’s injury. “Spoelstra says P.J. Tucker said he’s fine, but they’ll learn more about the severity of the strained groin in the coming days,” Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang tweeted.

Tucker, 36, who was shooting corner threes before getting injured on Monday, is also one of the toughest defenders in the league. Before exiting the game in the first half, he scored six points, with four rebounds in 13 minutes.

His prolonged absence will surely be felt on both sides of the court.

Another notable injury from the Heat’s roster during the preseason opener was suffered by Caleb Martin, who signed a two-way contract with the team last month. The former Charlotte Hornets wing took five stitches to close a head laceration, but was able to return to the game, ESPN’s Marc J. Spears tweeted.

Hawks Star Trae Young Also Left the Game With an Injury

Trae Young

GettyTrae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots a free throw in the second quarter against the Miami Heat in preseason action at FTX Arena on October 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Tucker, whom the Heat signed in free agency this summer, was not the only player to go down on Monday night. Hawks’ star Trae Young suffered a right quad contusion, headed to the locker room, and did not return.

However, Young said afterward that “there is some swelling and was hit pretty hard,” Locked on Hawk’s Brad Rowland tweeted. “Says it wasn’t intentional on Gabe Vincent’s end and that he hit his knee brace. ‘I’m gonna be alright… I’ll be good. Trust me.'”

Tyler Herro Shined in the Preseason Opener

Tyler Herro

GettyTyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat blocks the shot of Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks in a preseason game at FTX Arena on October 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

While Tucker’s injury puts a dark cloud over the first matchup of the 2021-22 NBA season, there were also lots of highlights to see and note before the regular season starts.

After putting on 10 pounds this summer, Herro proved that he didn’t just add glamour muscle. The 21-year-old guard scored 26 points in 26 minutes, along with four rebounds, and four assists.

The Heat’s next preaseaon game is scheduled for Thursday, October 7, against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

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