‘All hands on deck’ for banged-up Heat entering regular season’s final 10 games

MIAMI — Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier in the week that “our guys are not ignorant” of how important the last few weeks of the season are.

Miami has little time to improve its position in the standings — the 39-33 Heat currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one game behind the sixth-place Pacers. If Miami wants to better its playoff position, upcoming games against struggling teams like Portland on Friday and Washington on Sunday are crucial.

“We’re ready to go,” Spoelstra said. “At this time of year, we’re trying to play our best game to get wins, regardless of who we’re playing, how we’re playing, where we’re playing. That’s where we are right now. We’re coming off a tough loss the other night. But the opportunity’s still there for us. That’s what we have to just continue to understand. There can be disappointments during the season. There’s ups and downs. You ultimately are what your record says you are. But there’s opportunities in front of us if we can take advantage of it.”

But several key players are dealing with injuries, limiting them when they play or keeping them off the court completely.

Guard Tyler Herro is set to miss his 17th straight game due to tendinitis in his right foot, though he was shooting during Miami’s practice on Thursday.

“We don’t have a timeline, but it’s definitely encouraging for him to get on the wood and try to get ready,” Spoelstra said. This is part of the amp up. This is part of the plan. And there’s a lot of encouraging things.”

Forward Duncan Robinson will miss his fifth straight game due to left facet syndrome, a back injury. He was watching practice Thursday.

“Right now, it has to be this idea of all hands on deck,” Spoelstra said. “But it has to be in an intelligent way. We’re trying to get back guys out there as quickly as we possibly can. They’re doing whatever they have to do around the clock to make themselves available. Ultimately, all of this becomes about committing to something bigger than yourself, giving to the team whatever you can give at this time of year. And then each case is different. Everybody’s body is different. Everybody’s rehab is different. Everybody’s place in that part of the ramp up is different.”

But it’s not all bad news for the Heat.

Star Jimmy Butler, who missed the Heat’s loss to Golden State on Tuesday, participated in part of practice Thursday and is listed as probable for Friday’s contest against Portland. Forward Kevin Love, who has missed 14 games with a bruised right heel, is listed as probable, as are Caleb Martin and Jaime Jaquez Jr.

For the available players, the focus remains on the game ahead of them, center Bam Adebayo said.

“If you’re available, you’re available to play,” Adebayo said. “If you’re not, get as much treatment as you can to get back on the court.”

The Trail Blazers feature a young team. Earlier this month, they became the second team since 1971 to start five rookies in a game (with a group that included former Chaminade-Madonna star Toumani Camara). Although Portland is second-to-last in the Western Conference, that energy can make them dangerous, Spoelstra said.

“The one thing you can definitely expect is there’s going to be a great deal of speed, athleticism, quickness, energy, youthful enthusiasm,” Spoelstra said. “All of those things, on any given night, can be extremely dangerous.

Chauncey (Billups) has that group playing really hard, and they don’t have the pressure of anything. We have to continue to do what we’ve been talking about. we have to get a lot more consistent to our identity night in, night out, and be our best version also offensively (so) we can put some points on the board.”