Walker, Posey don't meet conditioning goals, must sit

Updated: January 3, 2007, 10:23 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Heat forwards Antoine Walker and James Posey were deactivated for the team's game Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers because they didn't meet a team conditioning goal.

Antoine Walker

James Posey

Heat coach Pat Riley, who also announced Wednesday that he was taking a medical leave of absence, said Walker and Posey may be back as soon as Friday in Phoenix -- but could face suspension by Jan. 15 if the undisclosed goal is not met.

"There's been an ongoing conditioning goal that our team has had to make since the summer. ... January was the deadline, they haven't made it, and they knew this was going to happen if they didn't make it," Riley said. "By the way, both of them are in the best condition of their lives. They're very close. But a deadline is a deadline."

Neither player will travel with the Heat to Phoenix on Thursday, instead staying behind to work with team strength and conditioning coach Bill Foran. Miami opens a six-game Western road trip against the Suns on Friday, and it's possible both could join the team sometime during the swing.

Walker declined comment before Wednesday's game, which the Heat lost 110-95.

Posey said his deactivation stemmed from a rule the Heat has about body fat. He said his body fat is 9 percent, but Riley wanted it to be 8 percent.

"He wants the weight to be down and he has his standards, I guess, for the bigs and the perimeters or whatever," Posey said. "It's the weight and for the perimeters [it's] 8 percent body fat. ... I'm at 9 percent body fat. And, that's not eight."

With center Shaquille O'Neal (knee surgery), forward Wayne Simien (recovering from salmonella poisoning) and guard Dwyane Wade (sprained wrist) all expected to miss Wednesday's game with injuries, the absence of Walker and Posey means the Heat will dress only 10 players against the Clippers.

Posey is averaging 7.3 points and 4.6 rebounds this season, while Walker is averaging 7.9 points and 4.1 rebounds on 40 percent shooting.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press