CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 29: Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers at The Quicken Loans Arena on March 29, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images)
AP Photo
April 02, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) Cavaliers starting forward Kevin Love will not play Thursday night against Miami because of a sore back.

Cleveland All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and Miami's Dwyane Wade are both playing despite missing their teams' respective shootarounds. Wade has been battling a stomach bug, but he was on the floor warming up two hours before tip-off and said he's going to give it a try.

Irving missed shootaround with an unspecified illness, but coach David Blatt was confident his point guard would be in the lineup.

Love has battled a sore back during much of his first season with Cleveland. He got elbowed during the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over Philadelphia and has not fully recovered.

Blatt said the team is being cautious with Love, who has missed six games this season.

''He's made a lot of progress, but he's not feeling great,'' Blatt said. ''This is not a rest thing. He's feeling sub-par.''

The Cavs were given two days off earlier this week, and Love practiced on Wednesday but only took part in non-contact drills. Love said the short rest helped his back, but apparently not enough to allow him to play.

The Heat also have plenty of injury questions, including Luol Deng (knee) and Udonis Haslem (illness). Neither played in Miami's loss to San Antonio on Tuesday, but Deng warmed up and is expected to play against Cleveland. Haslem traveled with the team but said he's still too ill to play. He said before the game that he hasn't been able to eat for the past three days.

Miami has also lost Chris Bosh (blood clots), Josh McRoberts (knee) and Shabazz Napier (sports hernia) for the season.

The Cavs have seven games remaining in the regular season and Blatt is considering resting some of his players, including superstar LeBron James.

Cleveland has the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, ahead of Toronto and Chicago by three games. If the standings stay as they are currently, the Cavs would face the Heat in the first round.

Miami enters Thursday tied with Brooklyn for the No. 7 spot, though the Heat hold the tiebreaker over the Nets in that race.

You May Like