Heat’s Kendrick Nunn leaves NBA Bubble, leaving guard shortage (w/UPDATE)
Heat’s Kendrick Nunn leaves NBA Bubble, leaving guard shortage (w/UPDATE)
Jul 18, 2024 2:32 PM

The Miami Heat, already likely without Goran Dragic (ankle) and Jimmy Butler (foot) for Saturday’s game against the hot Phoenix Suns, will be without Kendrick Nunn for longer.

Nunn left the NBA’s Bubble on Friday to attend to a personal issue, according to multiple sources.

UPDATE: He is expected to return this weekend, to begin the NBA’s mandated quarantine period, which starts at four days. That would make him available for the playoffs that begin the week of August 17th.

The rookie guard was late coming to the Bubble after testing positive for Covid-19, but this is not related to the disease or any other health matter in any way.

It also, according to a source, is not directly related to Nunn’s struggles on the court, which caused coach Erik Spoelstra to publicly support him in a Zoom conference call with media earlier on Friday.

Spoelstra on Kendrick Nunn: "He just needs more time, similar to Bam. I'm not making excuses for either one of them, but it takes time to regain your rhythm. Before the hiatus, he was playing really good basketball for a couple weeks before that."

— Five Reasons Sports Network (@5ReasonsSports) August 7, 2020

There have been concerns of late inside the organization about Nunn’s focus of late, according to sources. But they were aware he might need to leave the bubble to address the issue.

Without Nunn, the Heat will likely start rookie Tyler Herro — who seems ready for an ascension — or rookie Gabe Vincent, who was listed as probable after being unavailable the past couple of games. Both Herro and Vincent will probably play a lot, because Miami is now very short on perimeter players.

Goran Dragic spoke to the media Friday for the first time since rolling his ankle twice against Boston on Tuesday, and said that the injury was not as bad as he initially thought, and that he would try to get some extra work in on Friday night. But he also said he wants to be judicious, and with the Heat likely headed for a 4 or 5 seed no matter what happens in the final four games, there’s no reason to push him.

Goran Dragic & Jae Crowder getting shots up at practice today. Goran appears to be moving well. Breathe a sigh of relief #HEATTwitter @5ReasonsSports @fiveonthefloor5

— Greg Sylvander (@GregSylvander) August 7, 2020

5 Main Comments from Media Availability with Spoelstra, Dragic, Adebayo – Five Reasons Sports Network

— Five Reasons Sports Network (@5ReasonsSports) August 7, 2020

The other question is when Jimmy Butler returns.

He missed Tuesday and Thursday’s game with a sore foot, which is not believed to keep him out for any games once the playoffs start the week of August 17th.

But he also is being careful, as is the team, not to do too much too fast.

To follow on the Herald report, I'm told Jimmy Butler's foot injury isn't serious and he will be ready to go soon. Won't rush but plan is to get a little rhythm before the playoffs.

— Five Reasons Sports Network (@5ReasonsSports) August 7, 2020

And he was at practice with the team.

Jimmy Butler was present at practice today. Mask On. All smiles. @5ReasonsSports @fiveonthefloor5

— Greg Sylvander (@GregSylvander) August 7, 2020

Erik Spoelstra has spoken about the Heat’s depth being an advantage.

It will certainly be tested now, against a Suns squad that is playing well behind Devin Booker, and aiming for a play-in spot in the Western Conference.

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