Hours before tipoff, the Miami Heat not only announced that Tyler Herro would remain out for Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors, but that he would also miss the team’s next two road games.
“Tyler Herro (neck) is again out tonight for Heat,” Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang tweeted on January 22. “He has been sent back to Miami and will also miss finals two games of trip on Saturday and Monday vs. Nets.”
The 21-year-old suffered a neck injury during the Heat’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on January 14. With lingering pain, Herro sat out during the Heat’s following matchup against the Detroit Pistons on January 16 with KZ Okpala getting the start in his place.
Since then, Herro has missed three consecutive games, and now that he’s set to miss another three matchups, it’s hard not to wonder if there’s more to his “neck soreness” than Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra is letting on. While the guard returned to practice on Thursday, the Heat sent him home from Tampa on Friday.
Other Heat players that remain out on Friday night include Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and Meyers Leonard, who’s suffering from a strained left shoulder.
Spoelstra Remains Vague on Herro’s Return
Spoelstra said over the weekend that “Herro’s neck has been bothering him for about a week, and the team thought a day off would be beneficial,” Chiang tweeted.
On January 20, Spoelstra didn’t say too much more about Herro’s injury. “I don’t have any new update for you, other than he’s making progress,” Spoelstra said.
While most of the Heat’s starting lineup was sidelined due to COVID-19 tracing, the 6’5 guard stepped up in a big way. Herro scored 31 points against the Washington Wizards on January 9 and followed up that performance by racking up 34 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 12.
Hopefully, Herro can get the treatment he needs to get back on the court next week.
Herro Powered Through Numerous Injuries Last Season
While he’s still one of the youngest stars in the NBA, Herro is not immune to injuries. During his rookie year, he suffered from a right ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for five weeks.
Herro also powered through a left knee bruise which kept him sidelined for two games and a sprained ring ankle which forced him on the bench for another three games, according to Bleacher Report. The forced break due to COVID-19 offered Herro more time to rehab his ankle.
Herro said in July, “I’m definitely 100% now. The pandemic and the time off really was able to allow myself to get back to 100% but I feel the best that I’ve ever felt in my life. My body is 5.5% so I’m excited to be started.”
Herro was ready to dominate when the Heat entered the post-season bubble and was clutch in helping Miami reach the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.