The NBA issued punishments for Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro and Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic on Friday after their on-court altercation in the final minute of Wednesday night’s Heat win at Moda Center.
Herro and Nurkic both avoided suspensions, but they were both fined $25,000.
How has the Heat kept winning since Bam Adebayo and others went out? ‘We got hoopers’
In a press release, the NBA said: “Following an on-ball screen set by Nurkic that knocked Herro to the court, Herro initiated the altercation by pursuing Nurkic and shoving him in the back. Nurkic retaliated by pushing at Herro’s face with an open left hand.”
Herro and Nurkic each received a technical foul following the incident and were ejected with 59.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
As for Heat guard Kyle Lowry’s ejection in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game in Portland, Lowry declined to address that topic following Friday’s practice in Phoenix.
“That’s one question I will not answer for you,” Lowry said with a grin.
The Heat continues its trip on Saturday against the Phoenix Suns (9 p.m., Bally Sports Sun) before returning to Miami for a three-day break prior to Wednesday’s game against the Hawks in Atlanta.
MORRIS BACK SOON?
Heat forward Markieff Morris continues to make it clear via social media that he expects to return to game action soon.
In response to a post emphasizing the fact that he has missed two months because of whiplash, Morris wrote on Twitter: “Ain’t [expletive] wild about it! It’s a real injury! Imagine having a 300 pound sloppy fat boy run full speed and make direct contact with your spine! I’ll be back soon like I said.”
Morris will miss his 30th straight game on Saturday with whiplash after Denver Nuggets star center Nikola Jokic shoved Morris to the court from behind in retaliation to a hard foul on Nov. 8.
The Heat has offered very little details on Morris’ injury up to this point. But progress seems to have been made, as Morris met the team in Phoenix after traveling to the West Coast for a doctor’s appointment.
“He had an appointment on the West Coast and it made a lot of sense just to meet us here,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday. “He was able to go through some practice today and he’ll be able to fly back with us.”
It marked the first time that Morris has been with the team on the road since he suffered the injury.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Marcus Garrett and Gabe Vincent remain in the NBA’s health and safety protocols and have not rejoined the team yet. They are currently the only two Heat players in protocols, as Udonis Haslem is the latest one to be cleared.
But Haslem has been ruled out for Saturday’s game because he won’t be in Phoenix with the team.
▪ Along with ruling out Garrett, Haslem, Morris and Vincent, the Heat will also be missing Bam Adebayo (thumb surgery), Mario Chalmers (ineligible to play), Dewayne Dedmon (knee sprain), Aric Holman (ineligible to play), KZ Okpala (wrist sprain), Victor Oladipo (knee injury recovery) and Nik Stauskas (ineligible to play) on Saturday.
Jimmy Butler has been upgraded to questionable after sitting out Wednesday’s game with a sprained right ankle.
▪ With Duncan Robinson, Max Strus and P.J. Tucker recently rejoining the team from protocols, Spoelstra said Friday’s practice at Footprint Center was productive.
“They’ve been able to get some work in, but not in an organized full team setting like this,” Spoelstra said. “A day like today is invaluable. You don’t get many of them.”
▪ Adebayo went through an extensive workout following Friday’s practice and was even making jumpers with his injured right hand. Adebayo, who has not played since Nov. 29 after undergoing surgery on a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, is expected to return in the coming weeks in mid-January.