Erik Spoelstra Trying To Work Kevin Love Back Into Miami Heat Rotation

Jan 12, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Kevin Love (42) reacts against the Orlando
Jan 12, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Kevin Love (42) reacts against the Orlando / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra shed light on his decision to leave Kevin Love on the bench for the past two games.

The Miami Heat defeated the Portland Trailblazers 142-82 on Friday. The team then beat the Washington Wizards 119-107 on Sunday. Kevin Love was medically cleared to play for Sunday but never left the bench.

Love has not appeared since a Feb. 27 matchup against the Trail Blazers. He played just 14 minutes in the game after sustaining a right heel bruise.

"I have every intention of getting him back into the mix,” Spoelstra said about his decision. “These are fluid decisions. When guys are in, out and we're trying to keep some level of continuity, that's relatively impossible to do. It just takes a little bit of grace from everybody.”

The Heat have been plagued by injuries all season long. Just three players have appeared in 60 or more games this season. The team has already set a franchise record for most starting lineups in a single season.

Thomas Bryant has taken many of Kevin Love’s minutes. Bryant has appeared in each of the past 10 games for the Heat. He has averaged 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds over that span. 

Spoelstra did hint that Love’s return to the rotation may be imminent.

"But I'm fully aware of how important K-Love is to us," Spoelstra added. "He's been great about it. I think with another day of work, he'll be ready on Tuesday." 

The addition of Love to Heat rotation could bolster a team primed at pushing towards playoff positioning in a crowded Eastern Conference. The Heat play the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

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Shandel Richardson