SALT LAKE CITY -- Shane Battier missed his third game in a row Monday with hamstring soreness but did work out on the court beforehand — a positive sign.
Battier has missed six games this season because of various injuries. It’s unclear whether he will return to action Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors, but it’s doubtful.
Or “improbable,” as Battier described his playing status Monday morning.
“He’s making progress,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s getting stronger. He’s getting in more conditioning each day, and this has been the right plan for him.”
Spoelstra has qualified Battier’s hamstring discomfort as “soreness” rather than an injury. Battier said earlier this week that the lingering problem could be related to the knee injury he sustained last month. He missed three games after he strained his medial-collateral ligament. Battier has come off the bench ever since the injury.
“We’re slowly starting to build him up to the point where he’ll be able to go,” Spoelstra said. “It doesn’t get any worse, but rather it gets stronger.”
Heat sharpshooter Mike Miller has picked up some of Battier’s minutes over the past three games, and he has made the most of the extra playing time. Miller had 12 points off the bench against the Kings on Saturday. On Thursday against the Trail Blazers, Miller had eight rebounds.
“It shows Mike’s versatility,” Spoelstra said. “He can help us in a lot of different ways. His rebounding is important for us.”
Spoelstra said Miller and LeBron James have been playing the Heat’s “hybrid” forward roles since Battier’s injury.
“Both are forwards,” Spoelstra said. “LeBron is technically the power forward, but Mike has to pick up some of those minutes as well.”
Ray Allen entered Monday’s game needing nine points to pass Robert Parish for 21st on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Allen had 23,326 points before the Heat’s away game against the Jazz.
Known throughout his career for his rigorous conditioning, Allen didn’t waver from his routine Monday morning. As usual, he ran stadium steps 10 minutes before the Heat’s morning shootaround.
“His durability — he ran every step on the lower level of this building before we got started,” Spoelstra said. “At his age, it’s not a coincidence. He takes great care of his body, particularly as he gets older — not only the conditioning, but the nutrition. He has been a great addition for us.”
James and Heat owner Micky Arison took to Twitter to lobby the public for All-Star votes for Heat center Chris Bosh. Voting ended on 11:59 p.m. Monday.
Voting returns were made public a few weeks ago, and Bosh trailed Celtics center Kevin Garnett by about 30,000 votes for the third starting frontcourt position on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
James tweeted: “Help me get my homie/teammate to the NBA All-Star game! Vote by texting ‘Bosh’ to 69622 & tweeting ’Chris Bosh #NBABallot.’ ”