Joel Anthony to play with broken nose

Updated: March 23, 2011, 1:40 PM ET
By Michael Wallace | ESPN.com

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Another injury has delivered a blow to the Miami Heat's bench, but it's not severe enough to knock reserve center Joel Anthony out of the lineup.

Anthony remains cleared to play in Wednesday night's game against the Detroit Pistons despite fracturing his nose in two places during Friday's road victory against the Atlanta Hawks. The injury had gone unnoticed until Anthony sat out part of Tuesday's practice in Miami.

There were some concerns whether Anthony would make the trip. But he attended the Heat's shootaround on Wednesday morning at The Palace of Auburn Hills and said he expected to play against the Pistons.

Anthony wore a thick bandage over the bridge of his nose and was fitted for a protective mask after the team arrived in Detroit.

It will be the second game Anthony has played since he broke his nose in Friday's game. He said the injury happened when he was "head-butted" by Hawks rugged center Zaza Pachulia, who was assessed a technical foul after the incident.

Anthony said he wasn't aware that his nose was broken until he looked into a mirror after the game and discovered that something didn't look right.

"They said I broke it before and didn't really know," Anthony said. "The worst part is over with. Hopefully, I don't get it hit again. I'm not even thinking about it like that."

After breaking his nose on Friday, Anthony played 26 minutes in Saturday's home win against the Denver Nuggets. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team was aware of the injury before Anthony was allowed to play Saturday.

"There wasn't a fracture that could affect breathing or lead to other problems," Spoelstra said Wednesday. "It just looked funny. So he was cleared to play."

Injuries have forced the Heat to make adjustments in recent days. Starting point guard Mario Chalmers sprained his right knee on Saturday and is expected to miss the next two weeks. Veteran guard Mike Bibby will start at point guard Wednesday against the Pistons.

The Heat have also been without center Zydrunas Ilgauskas for two weeks as he recovers from a foot infection.

Anthony opened the season as the starting center, but has been a reserve the past two months. He is averaging 2.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and a team-leading 1.4 blocks a game off the bench.

Michael Wallace covers the NBA for ESPN.com.