This has been the way of the Miami Heat for weeks now, and with how the NBA has reacted to injury reports this weekend, it’s likely an approach that will continue:
When it doubts, “suspect” lets it out.
Sunday, prior to Game 4 of this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, this meant seven Heat players were listed as suspects for the 8 p.m. tipoff at the Wells Fargo Center.
The expectation, as has been proved consistently since the start of the playoffs, was again that the Heat’s suspects would settle in uniform and be at Erik Spoelstra’s disposal.
And, yet, they were all Sundays listed as suspects: Dwayne Deadmon (head cold), Tyler Harrow (ankle sprain), Kyle Lowry (hamstring strain), Caleb Martin (ankle sprain), Max Strauss (hamstring strain), PJ Tucker (calf strain) and Gabe Vincent (knee pain). All played in Friday night’s Game 3, who were listed as suspects prior to that game.
The opposite is the approach that was taken before Friday’s game when the 76ers not only had center Joel Embiid listed at the start of the day, but even when his position was in “doubtful” in the afternoon. changed, the team never changed that delimitation. Before Embiid came out to jump off center at tipoff.
The 76ers were fined an NBA $50,000.
What was released Saturday was an NBA release due to injury-reports that read:
The NBA announced today that the Philadelphia 76ers have been fined $50,000 for violating league injury reporting rules. The team is the center-forward ahead of Game 3 of their Conference Semifinal playoff series versus the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center on May 6. Joel Embiid’s involvement failed to disclose the situation in an accurate and timely manner.
In the wake of that clearance, the 76ers listed Embiid as doubtful for Sunday’s game, with a fracture of his face and a sprain in his right thumb, knowing full well that he would play.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers explains Friday’s roller-coaster, clearly not sympathizing with NBA ears.
“I felt like he was about to play [Friday] morning, but I didn’t know. But I felt so, ”said Rivers. “He did our full rehearsal, which again, we didn’t do much. He didn’t take many shots, which got me a little worried.
“But by the middle of the afternoon, I was pretty positive.”
Embiid played 36:20 on Friday night, culminating in the 76ers’ 99-79 win with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
During the first round of the playoffs, the Phoenix Suns were also sanctioned by the NBA to deal with injury reports.
In that case the NBA issued a statement that read, “The NBA announced today that the Phoenix Suns have been fined $25,000 for violating league injury reporting rules. The team will be held on April 28 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The involvement of guard Devin Booker failed to reveal the situation in an accurate and timely manner prior to Game 6 of the Pelicans vs New Orleans Pelicans first-round playoff series.
NBA injury reports are issued hourly before games.