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Heat’s Duncan Robinson returns to Miami to see back specialist; Butler, Jovic questionable vs. Cavs

Heat’s Duncan Robinson returns to Miami to see back specialist; Butler, Jovic questionable vs. Cavs

CLEVELAND — And now Duncan Robinson.

As if the Miami Heat’s injury report wasn’t long enough already.

On a trip that began with Tyler Herro and Kevin Love left behind in Miami, that saw Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jovic hobbled during the first of these four games away from Kaseya Center, coach Erik Spoelstra on Monday night saw his team without a shot, with Robinson sidelined midgame by back discomfort.

Robinson then returned Tuesday to Miami to see a back specialist.

For a team that loathes the term “load management,” the reality is a limp to a regular-season finish line that is looking more and more like a return trip to the play-in round, with hope of opening the playoffs at home all but lost.

For now, the hope is health, one final shot to show what this roster could be.

“It’s going to be a dope experience, just for all of us to be healthy again, all of us to be out there together, just trying to figure out how to get wins and make a deep playoff run,” center Bam Adebayo said after Monday night’s 98-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.

But instead of trending in that direction, the Heat continue to move the other way, this time with Robinson so limited by his back issue that he had to call it a night in Monday’s third quarter.

“You absolutely love Duncan,” Spoelstra said, with the Heat turning their attention to Wednesday night’s conclusion of this trip, against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. “He couldn’t move coming into the game — just the workload, everything (Sunday), the flight, or whatever — he just couldn’t move.

“But he’s a competitor, and he’s like, ‘Whatever we need, I’ll be out there.’ And it was tough.”

Sunday, Robinson appeared at the top of his game, scoring 30 points in the 104-101 victory in Detroit, converting 7 of 12 3-pointers, including the one that made him the NBA’s fastest player to 1,000 career 3-pointers.

Monday night, he closed with three points, his lone 3-point attempt a miss.

“It’s something I’ve been kind of dealing with over this last stretch,” Robinson said. “And I really kind of felt it second half of (Sunday’s) game, and I just wanted to try to give it a chance. Unfortunately, probably more of a detriment out there than anything, which is disappointing. But at a certain point make a judgment call on it, I’m probably not going to help.

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“Just being able to move is a big asset for me offensively, and fly around and play with pace. So it’s discouraging.”

The attempt was courageous, but the eventual absence left the 76ers packing the paint, with little concern about the balance of the Heat 3-point game.

“It’s just respect you have for the game and respect you have for Duncan,” Adebayo said, “for him to go out there and even attempt to try to play when he could barely move.”

The entrance to the Heat locker room at Kaseya Center lauds the value of a Band of Brothers. At this stage, it’s closer to bandage brothers:

— Herro has missed the past 12 games, dealing with medial tendinitis in his right foot;

— Love has missed the past 10 games with a bruised right heel;

— Butler has missed the past two games with a bruised right foot;

— Jovic has missed the past two games with a strained right hamstring;

— Forward Caleb Martin has been listed on the injury report for weeks with a sprained left thumb, not missing time, but playing with the thumb taped;

— Adebayo has been listed on recent injury reports with a lower-back contusion, pushing through the discomfort without missing time;

— And guard Josh Richardson has been out since Feb. 11 with a dislocated right shoulder that led to season-ending surgery.

By the end of Monday night’s game, the only available Heat players not dealing with any reported injuries were Thomas Bryant, Jamal Cain, Haywood Highsmith, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Patty Mills, Orlando Robinson, Terry Rozier and Delon Wright.

“You can’t dictate injuries, can’t tell guys to play through,” Adebayo said, even as he has done so. “So injuries that are really bothering ’em, me included, for us, it’s just next man up always.”

As far as the injury report for Wednesday night’s game, the Heat are listing Butler and Jovic as questionable, with Robinson, Herro, Love and Richardson listed as out. Adebayo and Martin are listed as available. Also, Cole Swider returned Tuesday from the G League, with Orlando Robinson and Alondes Williams also to rejoin the Heat.