MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The Miami Heat has been playing inspired basketball through the first six games of the NBA playoffs. But they will have to wait a bit longer to see if they can get one key member of the team back.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said power forward Udonis Haslem will remain out of action for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics.
Haslem has not played since a November 20 game against the Memphis Grizzlies when he ruptured a ligament in his left foot.
Lately, Haslem has been able to practice on back-to-back days for the first time since the injury. His return has been questionable since the injury, but Haslem has fought through rehab with the hopes of rejoining the Heat in the playoffs.
Haslem was averaging 8 points and 8 rebounds a game when he went down with the injury. If he was to return, even in just limited action, it would give the Heat a huge mental lift because Miami fans would go crazy for big U-D.
It would also help immensely with the rotation of players during a game. If Haslem could give the Heat 10-12 good minutes a game, it would allow the Heat to substitute differently and put more unique lineups on the floor that the Celtics are not ready to see.
But, Haslem may be held out until Game 5 at the earliest, assuming there is a Game 5. If the Heat make it through the series, bringing him back for the Eastern Conference Finals may help key a Heat run towards the NBA Finals.