ASK IRA: Do Heat again have to plan for playoff life without Tyler Herro?

Q: Ira, now that we know Tyler Herro is going to be out for a while, doesn’t Erik Spoelstra have to move on without him? – Sam.

A: I’ve never fully understood that line of thinking, that there has to be a cutoff when it comes to the timetable regarding a player’s absence. If a player is a key component and is capable of making it back to full health, then why play your cards shorthanded? Many players have received PRP injections and made it back to their full selves. Yes, timing matters, and will matter if Tyler is not back to himself by the end of the regular season when it comes to this foot ailment. Most likely, the Heat will play it out as they did during last season’s playoffs. If things are going well, then keep it copacetic. But if there are all-or-nothing play-in scenarios, then why wouldn’t you want all the weapons in your arsenal. As it has been so often with Tyler, it again is a waiting game that will require ample patience.

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Q: I think Terry Rozier is a keeper. The connection between Rozier and Bam Adebayo in the pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop has quietly become a thing of beauty. They both seemingly get what they want out of it, plus he gets you the points and rebounds. Feels a little like a Tim Hardaway-Alonzo Mourning tandem. – Douglas.

A: Um, perhaps slow down a bit on that latter take. But because of the Tyler Herro injury, this becomes a significant moment for the Heat regarding Terry Rozier, and whether Rozier-Adebayo potentially takes the place of Herro-Adebayo. With Tyler to miss additional time, the runway is there for an extended Rozier evaluation.

Q: So will it be lightning in a bottle like last year, or will it be the year after the 2020 NBA Finals when we went 0-4 against the Bucks?– Brian, Miami Shores.

A: We, of course, won’t know until we know. But if the Heat think they can turn it on again as a No. 8 seed, Boston this spring very much could be like Milwaukee in that 2021 opening round, with ample revenge on their minds. Nothing the Heat have done this season portends an ability to get past the Celtics in a best-of-seven series. That said, any other seed and you certainly could say there’s a chance, even with his uneven regular season. We should get a better read on the Heat’s likely postseason placing after this weekend, when the schedule toughens against the likes of the 76ers, Cavaliers, Pelicans, Cavaliers again, and Warriors, in that order. Survive that and there could be hope of something better than another play-in. But that also requires the requisite victory Sunday again against the Pistons.