Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro is ramping up the rehab of his fractured hand and is expected to return at some point during the NBA Finals, according to Bleacher Report. For now, the targeted return date for Herro reportedly would be Game 3 of the Finals, which would be Miami’s first home game of the series against the higher-seeded Denver Nuggets. Herro was ruled out of Thursday’s Game 1 by Miami coach Erik Spoelstra on Wednesday.
Herro suffered a fractured right hand in the first game of Miami’s first-round upset over the Milwaukee Bucks. He has not played since, with updates at the time suggesting that a return to the Finals would be possible. Of course, at that point, the Heat were a No. 8 seed fighting against the team with the best record in the NBA in the regular season, so a trip to the Finals appeared unlikely. Now? The Heat have done the unthinkable and become the second No. 8 seed in league history to reach the Finals, following the 1999 Knicks.
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 would not have reached the Finals without them.
Figuring out what sort of role makes sense for Herro in the Finals will be difficult for Miami, especially since he won’t be ready for Game 1. The Heat have built an identity around defense in the postseason, and that isn’t Herro’s strong suit. He’d have to be close to 100% offensively to justify starter minutes now, and considering he has an injured shooting hand, it’s unclear if that’s at all feasible.
But the Heat made it this far on a very thin rotation. Just getting Herro back on the floor at all will be a win. The Heat have opened the Finals as major underdogs against the Nuggets, so they’ll need all the help they can get.