After a four-month break from game action, Tyler Herro believes he’s in the best shape of his life.
The Miami Heat rookie guard missed 15 consecutive games because of right ankle soreness before the season was suspended on March 11 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He was able to return for one game, scoring two points in seven minutes in a March 11 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, before the league shutdown.
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But four months later, Herro said following Wednesday’s practice “I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life.” The 20-year-old has participated in each of the Heat’s first five practices at Walt Disney World.
“I’m definitely 100 percent now,” Herro said during a post-practice video conference call Wednesday. “… The pandemic and the time off … was able to allow me to get myself back to 100 percent. I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. My body fat is at 5.5 percent. So I’m excited to get started.”
If the season would have proceeded as scheduled, would Herro have been able to get back to full health without the time off?
“I don’t really know,” Herro said. “Because when I came back for the Charlotte game, I wasn’t all the way 100 percent. But I wanted to get out there and help as much as I can.”
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Herro, who has started in six of the 47 games he has played, has averaged 12.9 points while shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from three-point range, four rebounds and 1.9 assists in his first NBA season.
The season is set to resume July 30 and end in October at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, with the Heat beginning its three-game scrimmage schedule July 22 against the Sacramento Kings. Miami’s eight-game seeding schedule begins Aug. 1 against the Denver Nuggets.
“I think it’s incredible,” Herro said of the NBA campus at Disney. “For me, I haven’t changed really anything, besides I just can’t see my friends and family. That’s really about it. But I’m still doing everything I do or I would do back in Miami, just hanging out, just getting in the gym. And that’s really what I’m about. And that’s what the NBA has set up here. They’ve really made it so that we can continue our regular lifestyle here in the bubble that we would do in Miami.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ The Heat has been practicing with 15 of its 17 players at Disney. Center Bam Adebayo and guard Kendrick Nunn remain away, but the hope is they’ll both eventually rejoin the team in the NBA bubble to play games.
“They’re two great players, two great teammates, so there’s not going to be a problem with fitting them back in,” Herro said Wednesday. “They will get right back into the swing of things. They’ve also been working when they were 100 percent healthy. So we’re excited to get them back here. We really want to get a full team out here and just be able to attack this with 100 percent.”
Spoelstra said the 15 players who are with the team at Disney have remained healthy and available through the first five practices. The Heat is scheduled to practice again Thursday afternoon.
▪ Herro, who chose to wear “Black Lives Matter” on the back of his jersey when the season restarts, said: “I‘m just standing behind the Black Lives Matter movement. I stand behind it and support it. And I feel I have a voice and a platform to be able to push it and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
▪ Spoelstra noted that he’s a fan of the walking path outside of the Heat’s Disney hotel.
“That’s a good mental kind of escape for me. That has been nice every day,” he said.
There’s also a lake next to the hotel, which has allowed some Heat coaches to spend their downtime fishing.
“I’ve been out there observing quite a bit. I think I’m going to partake pretty soon,” Spoelstra said.
▪ Heat rookie center Chris Silva said he was planning to make the trip to his home country of Gabon, Africa this offseason, but plans changed when the season was suspended in March. The last time Silva traveled to Gabon was when he was a sophomore at the University of South Carolina, spending two weeks in Africa to renew his visa.
“This whole situation has changed a lot of plans,” Silva said. “I had the intention for the first time to go back home and spend some time with the family, in a couple of years. And things happen and you got to adjust.”