It really was a blue Monday for the Heat.
The four-time defending Eastern Conference champion franchise, already underwater in record (11-13), learned 6-10 forward Josh McRoberts could be out for the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee.
The Heat doesn’t know when 6-11 star forward Chris Bosh will be back from the strained calf that kept him out of Sunday’s loss to Chicago, it just knows it won’t be Tuesday against Brooklyn.
At least star guard Dwyane Wade made the trip to Brooklyn on Monday afternoon.
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Even that wasn’t certain because Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade contracted the same stomach virus that bedeviled teammate Udonis Haslem earlier.
But Spoelstra’s major news concerned McRoberts.
“Josh had an MRI this morning,” he said. “It was revealed he has a lateral meniscus tear. He’ll have surgery either Monday or Tuesday. He’ll be out indefinitely and this will not be a short term thing. He’ll be out a while, if he even does make it back this season.”
Since signing a four-year deal with the Heat in free agency this summer, McRoberts showed he was the versatile big body the Heat needed — when healthy. Offseason toe surgery and early season back problems limited him to just 17 games.
His season highs in playing time (33:02), assists (seven) and three-pointers (two) came in the Dec. 9 game against Phoenix. His season scoring high, 14 points, came the game before, against Memphis.
“It was a kick to the gut when we heard about Josh this morning,” Spoelstra said. “It’s tough. You feel for him more than anything else because he wanted to come in and contribute. You’re starting to see flashes of it. It’s ironic that his best game really was the Phoenix game and that play happened in the last minute of the game. That’s what Heat fans could see and everybody could start to feel what he could add to our group.”
Bosh sits out
Bosh could only practice free throws Monday. No timetable was given for his return, only that rest and treatment would be in his immediate future. Without Bosh and McRoberts, the Heat took a 93-75 drilling from Chicago on Sunday night.
As if the Heat wasn’t thin enough, 7-0 Justin Hamilton didn’t practice with a quad contusion. That left eight players to practice.
The Heat sent first-round pick point guard Shabazz Napier and center Hassan Whiteside to their NBA Developmental League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, on Saturday. Both were recalled Monday after a single game (the Heat would have preferred two) and will meet the team in Brooklyn.
Asked whether he could see any silver lining to the Heat’s health situation, Haslem said, “Other guys get some playing time that probably wouldn’t have. Ham’s [Hamilton] getting playing time. James [Ennis] is going to have to step in and play. Bird’s back [Chris “Birdman” Andersen].
“We may get some opportunities to get some guys some minutes. You never know, you may see the Bash Brothers play together for once, me and Bird. You never know what might happen then.”
The Heat might be able to apply for an injured player’s exception from the league if McRoberts gets shut down for the season. This also might force them to get into the trade market once it opens Monday for those free agents signed this offseason.
Looking for help
“We’ll meet. We have the best in the business over there,” Spoelstra said looking across the practice gym at Heat president Pat Riley and general manager Andy Ellsburg. “My focus will be who we’re bringing to Brooklyn tonight. Whoever’s ready to go, let’s get on that plane and get on with it. That’s the mentality I want our group to have.”
Haslem lives with that mentality.
“The game is still scheduled for Tuesday. They’re not going to push it back. If anything, on Brooklyn’s end, they’re going through their ups and downs, they see this is a chance to get one,” he said. “Every time I step on the floor, I pride myself on not wanting to be the weak link. Everybody who steps on the floor [Tuesday] has to take that same approach.”
Tuesday: Heat at Nets
When/Where: 7:30 p.m., Barclays Center,New York.
TV/Radio: Sun Sports; WAXY 104.3 FM and 790AM, WAQI 710 AM (Spanish).
Series: Heat leads 60-45.
Noteworthy: A bad situation for the Heat got much worse on Monday when the Heat learned that Josh McRoberts could be out for the season with a torn meniscus. McRoberts was scheduled to have surgery this week. … Less than 48 hours earlier, the Heat began preparing to be without Chris Bosh for possibly a few weeks. Bosh strained his calf recently and said the injury was from “wear and tear.” In addition to Bosh and McRoberts being out against the Nets, Dwyane Wade is questionable with an illness and Justin Hamilton is questionable with a bruised left quad. Brook Lopez is out for the Nets.