Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem questionable
MIAMI -- Despite injury problems throughout the regular season, the Miami Heat had hoped their key bench players would be healthy enough for crucial postseason series.
That does not look like it will be the case when they start their series with the Boston Celtics Sunday afternoon.
Miller has a left thumb injury that limited him to fewer than seven total minutes in the first-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Haslem has a slow-healing foot injury that he hoped he'd be back from a month ago but also is not ready.
Miller has a new brace on his left thumb even more intricate that the brace for his right thumb, which needed surgery earlier this season. Spoelstra said the brace is helping but that he's still in "evaluation" mode about Miller's availability. He has been active but did not play in the past three games.
"Coach understands I'll be ready if he calls my number," Miller said. "If not, I'll be the best cheerleader I can be."
Haslem, whose recovery has been slowed by persistent soreness that has limited practice time, recently ramped up his workload and appeared close to being activated. But Spoelstra attempted to throw water on that possibility.
"While we all see the light at the end of the tunnel, the series will not be our timeline [on Haslem]," Spoelstra said. "It may not happen in the next week or the next two weeks."
Haslem admitted that the Heat's recent strong play -- they have won 19 of their past 23 games -- may be making the coaching staff hesitant to alter the team's rotation to make room for him.
"As much as I'd love to be out there, I understand this is a very important series for us," Haslem said. "We've got a pretty good chemistry right now and I don't want to disrupt that. I don't want to force anything right now. With that being said, it is not as easy as a decision as people would think it would be and I understand that."
Brian Windhorst covers the Miami Heat for ESPN.com.
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