When Beno Udrih woke up Tuesday morning he couldn’t move his stiff, sore and strained neck much at all. About an hour before tipoff Tuesday, he was progressing.
“I can’t do any sudden movements,” said Udrih, who strained his neck when he fell near the Heat bench in the third quarter of Friday’s win at Denver. “Still, it’s much better than it was this morning. I can actually move it [side to side]. As you can see, I’m coughing because I was on the bike and this [neck muscle] is attached to the ribs. So, I can’t get a full breath.”
Injuries have become a pain in the neck for the Heat lately — literally and figuratively. And Wednesday, when Miami plays the first of five road games in Washington, it’s likely the team will still be shorthanded at least four players.
Udrih, the Heat’s backup point guard, said he doesn’t expect to play in Washington. But he is hopeful to be cleared to return either Friday in Toronto or Monday in Chicago.
As for the rest of the players on the inactive list, coach Erik Spoelstra said: “We are still determining that.”
Forward Chris Andersen (sore left knee) won’t travel at all.
Starting point guard Goran Dragic, who has a mild Grade 1 left calf strain, will travel, Spoelstra said, but “just so he can get the next stage of all of his rehab with the training staff.”
Forward Josh McRoberts (bruised right knee) will also travel. But McRoberts, who missed his 22nd consecutive game Tuesday, has been traveling with the team for weeks.
Tuesday, the Heat had seven players listed on its injury report. Guard Gerald Green (right knee tendinitis) played in the 91-79 loss to the Bucks. Forward Jarnell Stokes (illness) and guard Dwyane Wade (shoulder soreness) were both cleared to play and Wade started.
“It’s like we’re walking around on egg shells man,” forward Chris Bosh said of the team’s injuries. “Even the guys that can go like Dwyane, he’s hurting a little bit.
“I’ve seen it before so I try to act in that fashion a little bit. But it’s still a kick to the gut. We’re at a very crucial point in the season. We knew this point was going to be very tough and it was going to be a gut check — and that was going to be at 100 percent.
“With four or five guys out, it kind of presents quite a challenge for us. We just have to take it very slowly. We just have to play our basketball and hold the guys that are playing to the standard that we always do. Play to win the game. Play defense. Play together. Share the ball. And if we do that, hold each other to that standard. If we’re not doing it, get on each other and just play the game. Really, that’s all you can do when you’re short-handed.”
Wade at least received some good news after the team returned home from the West Coast. He had an MRI performed Monday that revealed no structural damage to his ailing shoulders. All he is dealing with is soreness.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to play through some discomfort,” said Wade, who missed the Heat’s win against the Nuggets but returned and scored a team-high 22 points in Sunday’s blowout loss at Oklahoma City. “Then if it gets too sore or too bad like it did against Denver, then I take the game off. [I’ve] just [got to] play through the discomfort for the most part.
“It’s a physical game we play. You do a lot of bumping. I do a lot of shot fakes. I do a lot of things. I’ve had different times where one of my shoulders has been sore. I just haven’t had both of them at the same time. It’s fine — my legs work. That’s all I really [care about]. I’d rather take sore shoulders over sore knees any day.”
WEDNESDAY: HEAT AT WIZARDS
When, where: 7 p.m., Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
TV, radio: SUN; WAXY (790), WAQI (710, Spanish).
Series: Heat leads 74-37.
Scouting report: The Heat crushed the shorthanded Wizards 97-75 back on Jan. 3 in Washington, but head over there battling injuries themselves this time. Washington is still without three frontcourt players: Kris Humphries (knee), Drew Gooden (calf) and Otto Porter (hip) have all been ruled out for Wednesday’s game.