When NBA season resumes next month, the Miami Heat will resemble the team that reached the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference standings at one point.
Center Meyers Leonard is finally healed from a midseason foot injury, meaning the Heat are back at full strength for the first time since early February. They were playing peak basketball before a rash of injuries slowed momentum.
Leonard had played 49 straight games until sustaining the setback against the Philadelphia 76ers Feb. 3. The severity of the injury likely would have caused him to miss a portion of the postseason if play was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"He's feeling great," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I think you can say that in many ways that time off was really good for his body. It would've been a tight squeeze to get him ready if it was normal playoff time."
Leonard had four months to recover and should be ready when play starts July 31 in Orlando. The Heat are among the 22 teams that will participate in eight remaining regular season games and the playoffs.
“This has served his body well," Spoelstra said "He has been able to rest and then also do treatment and rehab, which was important. But the rest was the most important thing, initially.”
The Heat were 34-15 at the time of Leonard's injury. Rookie guard Tyler Herro was also hurt the same game, missing 15 games because of a sprained ankle.
The Heat went just 7-9 without them but Herro was able to return just before othe break. The time off also boded well for All-Star Jimmy Butler, who dealt with toe and shoulder issues before the suspension.
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