Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat are in full cruise-control mode with just a handful of games left ahead of the playoffs. That’s why it’s not surprising that LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and others are not playing in the last few games.
James, Wade, Mario Chalmers, and Ray Allen are all expected to be held out of the starting lineup of Friday night’s game against Charlotte. The Bobcats are the worst team in basketball and there’s simply no need to risk injury to any of those players.
James and Chalmers did a little on-court work when the Heat practiced Thursday, but Allen and Wade were limited to stretching and conditioning. All four players will travel to Charlotte and will be re-evaluated Friday before lineups are decided upon.
Chalmers has missed the Heat’s last three games while Wade and James have sat out the last two. LeBron is said to be dealing with a sore hamstring. Wade and Chalmers are both reportedly dealing with an ankle issue, as is Allen, who has battled ankle problems the last two years in a row.
While the injuries are minor, the Heat are not taking any chances with players suffering another injury or stretching out the recovery time from a current injury.
“We still have time to work on our game. We want our guys to get rhythm,” Spoelstra said. “But they have to deal with these minor injuries right now. We’re being very proactive and very aggressive. We’re going to take care of them.”
As of Thursday afternoon, if the four players listed above do sit out the Bobcats game the starting lineup will look like this: Norris Cole, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Rashard Lewis, and Chris Bosh.
“We want to get those guys back as soon as possible,” Haslem said. “But we have some time, eight games left? We have some time to get them back.”
Miami has the league’s best record at 58-16, has wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and is trying to hold off San Antonio for home-court advantage throughout the NBA Finals. Charlotte, at 18-57, owns the league’s worst mark this season.
After the Bobcats game, Miami returns home Saturday to play host to the Philadelphia 76ers.
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