Heat guard Tyler Herro, who has been sidelined since sustaining a fractured right hand in the Heat’s playoff opener, said late Monday night that he hopes to return to play at some point in the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets. Asked about a report by TNT’s Chris Haynes that he’s targeting a return in Game 3 in Miami, which would be June 7, Herro said: “We’ll see. I don’t know.” The NBA Finals begin Thursday in Denver; Game 2 will be Sunday, also in Denver. After Herro had surgery on the hand, the Heat said he would miss a minimum of six weeks. This past Sunday — a day before Game 7 of the Celtics series — marked the six-week mark.
“There’s a little soreness in my hand, still,” Herro said via Winderman. “But it’s all just post-surgery scar tissue and stuff like that I’m trying to work through right now, and I would love to come back for the Finals and we’ll see how my hand feels.”
Despite losing one of their top sources of offensive production, the Heat were able to take down the 1-seeded Bucks, followed by the New York Knicks and most recently the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Getting Herro back in any capacity would go a long way in Miami possibly winning their final series of the year and claiming a championship, but there is still no timetable for his potential return.
“We’ll see what happens. I don’t know,” Herro stated. “My hand feels good. We’ll see what happens. I’m feeling good.”
Following their Game 7 victory over the Celtics on Monday night, reports surfaced suggesting that Herro could be ready to ready for Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Miami. The Heat have not given any further updates on their guard’s status and he remains unlikely to play in one of the first two games in Denver.
This season he finished third on the Heat’s scoring list, averaging 20.1 points a game behind Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Herro is also Miami’s long range specialist, shooting a team high 37.5% from three point range. In the first half of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs Herro went to chase down a loose ball, and hit his hand against Grayson Allen, breaking his right hand. He was forced to the operating room shortly after the game and subsequently ruled out for 4-6 weeks.
If you have been watching pregame shows or paying attention to Twitter over the last few Heat games, you have probably seen Herro warming up but when game time comes around changes into his street clothes which haven’t drawn him much critical acclaim at least from TNT commentator Stan Van Gundy.
“I’m going to be working out every day, twice, two, three times a day from here until the day I hopefully come back,” said Herro, who is traveling with the team. “So I’m always going to continue to work hard and see how my body responds day by day and try to come back as soon as possible.” Heat guard Gabe Vincent said a return by Herro would be a boost. “It’s great,” Vincent said. “Obviously, Tyler was a huge part of our team and he still is whether he’s on the court or off the court. Just being a voice and being there, so it’s been great having him around. It’s great to see him put in work and it’s good to see his progress.”
“After we won in Milwaukee, I had a feeling we would be going back to the Finals,” he said. “It’s been a hell of a ride for sure. Just to be on the sideline, I’ve been on every road trip, I’ve been a part of everything thus far. Just being here with the team has been awesome. Just to see the guys rally around each other; it’s been great. I’m excited to have an opportunity to possibly play again this season.” Asked about needing to deal with the altitude in Denver, where the Heat hasn’t won since 2016, Herro said: “We play there once a year, so we don’t really have much experience. We played in Mexico City this year with a higher altitude than Denver, I believe. But I mean, you can feel it. It’s an adjustment for sure.
The former Whitnall High School star broke his hand in Game 1 of the opening playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Then, while sitting on the bench during the series with the Boston Celtics last week, TNT analyst and former Heat and Wisconsin coach Stan Van Gundy criticized Herro for his fashion sense. Van Gundy punched back with a common jab at Herro’s overall age group.
Heat wing Caleb Martin scored 135 points on 60 percent shooting in the series against Boston. Per CBS Sports, only six players have scored more points on 60 percent shooting in a conference finals in the past 40 years: Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Shawn Kemp, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dwight Howard.
The Heat had seven undrafted players appear in a game in this postseason — the most any team that made an NBA Finals has had since 1966.
The Heat’s seven NBA Finals appearances since 2006 are the most in the league during those 18 years — one more than Golden State. The Heat is only the second eighth seed to make an NBA Finals, following the 1999 Knicks, who lost to the Spurs.
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