Thursday, April 04, 2013 2:38 pm
James, Wade, Chalmers, Allen might sit Friday
By TIM REYNOLDSAP Basketball Writer
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers are all expected to be held from the starting lineup again Friday, and now, so is reserve guard Ray Allen, according to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
James and Chalmers were able to do some on-court work when the Heat went through a non-contact practice Thursday. Allen and Wade were primarily limited to stretching and conditioning off to the side. All four were traveling with the Heat to Charlotte and will be evaluated again Friday before lineup decisions are made.
"This was a good step, but it was a minor step also," Spoelstra said. "So I don't anticipate those guys playing. We'll see."
Chalmers has missed each of Miami's last three games. Wade and James sat out the past two games. Allen hasn't missed a game since Feb. 8, and that was because of illness.
James has a strained hamstring that first flared up in the New Orleans game last Friday. Chalmers and Wade are both dealing with ankle issues, and Allen sprained his ankle in Miami's loss to New York on Tuesday - getting hurt in a collision with a cameraman sitting along the sideline at midcourt.
The four injuries are considered minor, though with the playoffs approaching, the Heat are being supremely cautious.
"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."
On Friday, the Heat would likely start Norris Cole and Mike Miller in the backcourt, Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis at forward and Chris Bosh at center, barring any changes in the status to any of the injured four players.
"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.