Josh McRoberts gets it.
He understands how Miami Heat fans can be frustrated with the fact he has missed 88 games because of injury during his first two seasons with the organization, and he can certainly understand why they are upset he’s sidelined again for the start of camp.
“I completely get it,” McRoberts said Wednesday moments after revealing he broke his left foot in May in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Toronto Raptors. “I’m the big white guy who gets hurt all the time. I wouldn’t like me either.
“So, I think I completely understand where it comes from. I get it. I want to be out there. It’s not like I got hurt walking a dog. I got hurt trying to play for the Heat, trying to help the team win. That’s just part of it. I’ve had bad luck and I’ve done everything I can to be healthy. Trust me, if anybody is frustrated, it’s me, more so [than the fans]. So, I definitely understand the fans [frustrations]. I’m a fan of other sports, too. Guys get hurt and you are like ‘Man, we need that guy. We need him to play.’ I get it.”
McRoberts, who said he’s not sure when exactly he broke his foot in Game 6 back on May 13, ended up playing through the injury two days later in Toronto. He scored 10 points in 15 minutes of the Heat’s Game 7 blowout loss to the Raptors. Because the season ended that night, few outside the organization knew about McRoberts’ foot injury. He revealed it Wednesday, a day after coach Erik Spoelstra said McRoberts had injured his foot “five weeks ago.”
McRoberts said he never had surgery on his foot. Instead, the team opted to place it in a boot and figured he would recover with rest. But shortly after having the boot removed in August, McRoberts said he had a setback.
“Right when I got out of the boot I came back down to Miami to work out and to try to get back going and I had a stress reaction off that,” McRoberts said. “So, that’s what I’m still getting over now.
“I’m feeling better now. I’m kind of just trying to ease back into it. I think I tried to go a little too fast last time just to try to get back on the court. So, this time I’m just being cautious. We’ll see how it goes. I’m trying to push more and more each day. But I think by the regular season, I’m hoping to be ready to go. But I don’t want to put a time restriction on it, or say this date, and be back way before or way after.”
So far in camp all McRoberts, 29, has done is participate in non-contact work. That’s included shooting drills and stationary bike work.
When the Heat signed McRoberts to a four-year, $22.6 million deal prior to the 2014-15 season, the organization did so with the idea he could help stretch the floor as a dangerous three-point shooter from the power forward spot. But in his first two seasons with the team, McRoberts has played in 59 games total, averaging only 3.4 points while shooting 29.4 percent from three-point range.
He missed 24 games last season with a right knee bruise and another two games for rehabilitative recovery according to the team’s media guide. In his first season with the Heat, he suffered a torn meniscus on Dec. 9 and missed the final 61 games of the season. He missed 62 total that season officially because of injury.
With Pat Riley saying on Monday it’s unlikely 11-time All-Star Chris Bosh will play for the Heat again, coach Erik Spoelstra is looking long and hard at his roster this preseason to try and find a way to fill Bosh’s shoes in the starting lineup. Spoelstra said Wednesday while there’s no way the Heat can replace a future Hall of Famer in Bosh with one player and instead has to do so collectively, his preference is to establish a consistent starting lineup.
McRoberts said being a starter has never been important to him. What’s more important, he said, is finding a way to get on the court and helping the Heat win.
And McRoberts feels as though he’s certainly still capable of it.
Right after Bosh was lost for the second year in a row at the All-Star break last season with blood clots, McRoberts had arguably his best game in a Heat uniform in an improbable, short-handed win at Atlanta. He had 19 points, six rebounds and 10 assists in 30 minutes of action. McRoberts said Wednesday he feels he can still be that type of player.
“I still have confidence,” he said. “It’s just a matter of just being healthy and being in the right situation, getting a chance to be on the court for an extended period of time and just getting back out there. I just want to be healthy and have my health. If I have that, I think I can have a hell of a year.”