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Depth allows Miami Heat players time to heal
WASHINGTON – A noticeable shift in the Heat’s training-room culture is beginning to reveal itself as more and more Heat players sustain minor injuries.
In years past, players were encouraged to play through pain. Not this season.
With so much depth on the team, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has the luxury of giving players plenty of time to heal, and that’s what he’s doing.
The hope is that players are fresh after the All-Star break and injury free heading into the playoffs.
On Tuesday, Shane Battier missed his third consecutive game with a slightly strained knee ligament, and Norris Cole sat out with a slightly strained groin muscle.
Both players are expected to return to action Thursday against the Knicks.
“We feel that our depth is one of our best strengths and during the course of a long season you have to use that depth, and that will be the case tonight,” Spoelstra said before Tuesday’s tipoff.
Cole was a pregame scratch, and Battier is still feeling a slight pain in his right knee.
Both players could have played if there were no other options, but, these days, the Heat has plenty of options. Plus, the Wizards have the worst record in the NBA.
“Our team is too deep to risk,” Battier said. “We don’t need to chance it.”
BY JOSEPH GOODMAN