Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro has been ruled out of Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday. Turner Sports' Chris Haynes previously reported that Herro would likely target a Game 3 return, and at one point, it even appeared as though Game 2 would be possible, but for now, Herro still has work to do before he can take the floor again.
Herro fractured his right hand diving on the floor for a loose ball in the first game of the Heat's remarkable run to the Finals. He has not played since Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks, at which point it looked like the injury was effectively season-ending. Now that the Heat have become the second No. 8 seed in league history to reach the Finals, following the 1999 Knicks, Herro has a chance to make an imprint on the game's biggest stage.
Herro was Miami's second-best offensive player in the regular season, averaging 20.7 points per game in his first year as a starter. In his absence, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin have picked up the load as scorers, and the Heat have also leaned on Max Strus and Duncan Robinson.
Miami has thrived in Herro's absence. On Sunday, the Heat tied the Finals at 1-1 with a road win in Denver, which also represented the first home loss of the postseason for the Nuggets. Integrating Herro could be complicated for Miami's coaching staff. The Heat have built an identity around defense in the postseason, and that isn't Herro's strong suit. The moment he steps on the floor, expect the Nuggets to run his man off a screen or have his man set a ball screen for one of their stars.
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Herro's offense could be useful, especially if Miami is focused on spreading Denver's defense out. With an injured shooting hand, though, it's unclear how effective he'll be. This time of year, he will have to earn all of his minutes. Finding those minutes won't be easy for the Heat. Vincent, Martin, Strus and Robinson have all played well in the minutes they've been given, and Kyle Lowry has proven essential on both ends of the floor. Perimeter minutes are currently at a premium in Miami.
For the Heat, merely having another offensive option should be considered a win. They have made it a long way on a very thin rotation, and they are underdogs against the Nuggets. They'll take all the help they can get even if Herro's eventual return could complicate their rotation.