The Miami face-mauling victim’s initial public statement? ‘Go Heat’

"Go Heat," the patient said, according to his doctors. Of course, this is no ordinary patient.

You're no doubt aware of one of the more shocking crimes to cross the public consciousness of late, one that saw Rudy Eugene maul the face of a homeless Miami man while apparently under the influence of a drug popularly but incorrectly labeled as "bath salts." The homeless man, Ronald Poppo, lost most of his recognizable features in the assault, which continued until Miami police shot and killed Eugene while he attacked his 65-year-old victim.

This might be apocryphal, as we learn of Poppo's rehabilitation, but it appears as if the recovering patient has become quite the Miami Heat backer while he recovers, asking that the TV be turned off in his hospital. We're being judicious in what we link to, because there are other news reports floating around the web that feature graphic pictures of Poppo's face as he undergoes rehabilitation, so you'll excuse us while we quote a smaller report and leave more of the searching up to you. From the Christian Post (which features a smaller, but potentially disturbing picture of Poppo, farther on down the page):

Doctors described Poppo as a positive person, and that he has been talking a lot and is interested in the Miami Heat's NBA Playoff games. He even told doctors, "Go Heat!"

The Miami Sun-Sentinel goes on:

Doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital said Tuesday that when Poppo, 65, when was asked to make a public statement, he opted to cheer on his favorite team.

It adds absolutely nothing to the ongoing investigation, but for a victim that (according to his family) lost interest in quite a few things along the way from his youth spent in relative affluence to the streets of Miami, it's a little warming to know that Poppo is enthused about something.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals, featuring Poppo's Miami Heat against the Oklahoma City Thunder, tips off on Tuesday night.