The Heat’s power rotation took a hit in training camp when center Justin Hamilton experienced dizziness in Monday’s practice and was later treated for a minor heart condition.
Hamilton, 24, was taken to Doctors Hospital, where he underwent a procedure to correct an atrial flutter, according to the Heat. The 7-footer is expected to make a full recovery, and was responding well to treatment Tuesday, according to the Heat, but he now must wait at least three weeks before returning to full-contact practice.
“Thankfully it was a minor procedure, and he’s already feeling a lot better,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Mark Bartelstein, the agent representing Hamilton, said Tuesday that Hamilton would “be back to working out at full speed in the next couple of days.”
The three-week waiting period without contact is a precaution, but Hamilton must be cleared medically before returning to the court. Three weeks from Monday is Oct. 20, or nine days before the Heat’s season opener against the Washington Wizards.
“Obviously, the timing is not great, but he’ll be back to 100 percent soon and better than ever,” Bartelstein said.
Hamilton has a one-year contract with the Heat for around $800,000, but the team has an option on the deal. A second-round pick in the 2012 draft, Hamilton has been a long-term project for the team. He played in Croatia his first year as a professional and turned down money overseas last year to play for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, a D-League that team that is affiliated with the Heat.
“It was really hard to turn down so many good offers overseas, but I knew there is only a certain amount of time to get back in the NBA, and I wanted to utilize that,” Hamilton told the Miami Herald on Sunday. “I felt like I was an NBA player. I just needed to get back into it, so I stayed here close so I could stay in the NBA terminology and it would be easy to get back in.”
The calculated gamble paid off for Hamilton last season. He excelled for the Skyforce and built a reputation as tough player with an excellent work ethic.
D-League coaches voted Hamilton to the All D-League First Team, and he also was named to the D-League All-Defensive First Team and the D-League All-Stars. Hamilton was then given a 10-day contract with the Charlotte Bobcats before the Heat signed him for the rest of the season.
Hamilton’s contract included a deal for this season, and the Heat has been excited about his chances of helping the team since this summer. In a letter to Heat fans and season-ticket holders after LeBron James left for Cleveland, Heat owner Micky Arison mentioned Hamilton by name and called him “an exciting young talent.”
Hamilton participated with the Heat during the exhibition season last year, but broke his nose just before the start of the regular season. The Heat fitted him for a mask and he continued to wear it during D-League games long after his face healed.
Teammates refer to Hamilton by his nickname, “Ham.” Team executives were so impressed with Hamilton’s development last year that they lobbied hard for him to sign with the D-League and play for Sioux Falls, which uses Heat coaches.
“I went from [Miami] to Sioux Falls because I was used to that Heat culture and just the way they do things,” Hamilton said. “So going to Sioux Falls was really beneficial in just working on my game and just having a lot more practice time than an NBA season and using those games to build my résumè.”
Heat power forward Chris Bosh named guard Shannon Brown as a player capable of backing up Dwyane Wade this season. With Ray Allen no longer on the team, identifying a suitable shooting guard during training camp has been a priority.
Brown was released by the New York Knicks in July. The Heat is Brown’s fifth team within the year, although when he was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Washington Wizards on Oct.25, the Wizards released him three days later.
In February, Brown signed two 10-day contracts with the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks. The Knicks then signed Brown for the remainder of the season. Brown played for Knicks president Phil Jackson when Jackson coached the Los Angeles Lakers, where Brown won a pair of championships.
“[Brown] was in New York and I figured that they were going to keep him, especially with the triangle [offense] coming in and them trying to implement that system out there, so that’s extra motivation for him,” Bosh said.
“But we need that. He’s a very competitive and fierce player out on the court and he’s a two-way player. I think he can he really help this team out if he gets acclimated to the system and gets his feet under him.”