Swingman returns from suspensions

Updated: March 29, 2005, 11:34 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Qyntel Woods' rocky season may finally be on an upswing.

Qyntel Woods
Miami Heat
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Woods, waived by Portland earlier this season after two suspensions _ one for violating the NBA's drug policy and another after he was charged with animal abuse _ was activated Tuesday by the Miami Heat. He was in uniform for the Heat's home game against Toronto, but did not play in Miami's 103-91 win, their 17th in a row at home.

Woods has not played in a game with either Portland or Miami this season.

"It took a while just for me to get back in the swing of things, get back in good shape and adjust to the new system," said Woods, who was signed by Miami on Jan. 26. "I feel good. I've been waiting on this since October. To finally get a chance to put the uniform on, that's an accomplishment in itself."

To make room for Woods, Miami placed forward Rasual Butler on the injured list with tendinitis in his right knee. Butler, who's averaged 6.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 61 games this season -- including 15 starts -- had not played in five of Miami's six previous games before Tuesday.

"I've just been very happy with Qyntel's practices for about three weeks," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He's been one of the better perimeter players in there and there may be some situations where he can help us."

Shaquille O'Neal offered a similar assessment. "He's a great athlete, good passer," O'Neal said. "He's been working hard and waiting his turn. He can help us out in many ways."

The 6-foot-8 Woods averaged 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds in two seasons with the Blazers. Portland waived him after Woods acknowledged in court that he mistreated his dog, drawing a sentence of 12 months of probation and 80 hours of community service.

The Heat said they had no major reservations when signing him, and his play at practice quickly captured Van Gundy's attention.

"It gets to the point where you're saying 'He's one of the better people out here,'" Van Gundy said. "Why are we sitting him?"

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press