Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on the NBA restart: `There's a level of risk'

Shandel Richardson

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his players have already accepted the risk.

Now, it's just a matter of hoping for the best.

On Wednesday, Spoelstra spoke for the first time since the league formally announced plans to restart the season later this month in Orlando.

"There's going to be varying opinions," Spoelstra said via Zoom conference call. "There's no way around it. It's not 100 percent guaranteed. There's a level of risk that everybody has to manage in their own commitment to this. We all feel comfortable that this is really well thought out."

Spoelstra said the Heat have to use the next 20 days wisely to prepare for the first game. After traveling to Orlando next week, they open the restart against the Denver Nuggets Aug. 1.

"I think it's more of the same," Spoelstra said. "It makes it a little more official but I don't think it changed what we've done. We've followed protocol. We've already started the [coronavirus] testing ... Probably more than anything, for whatever reason, the realization was we're a week out. That hit home for me."

Several players around the league have expressed concerns of returning after such a long layoff. The league suspended the season March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"There are a lot more other things on my mind ahead of that," Spoelstra said. "I think our guys have done a commendable job in such extreme circumstances of staying physically fit."

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