For the first time in over two years, Eddy Curry was back where he belonged. The Miami Heat activated Curry after months of work and conditioning, and coach Erik Spoelstra inserted him into the first half of Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was Curry's first NBA action since December of 2009, so obviously it was a pretty significant moment for the well-traveled center.
The next step will be staying healthy and becoming a consistent source for solid minutes off the Heat bench. Curry hasn't played more then 10 games in a season since 2007-08. That year for the Knicks he started 58 games, playing in just under 26 minutes per game and averaging 13.2 points and 4.7 rebounds. He only played in 3 games the following season, and just 7 the year after that before sitting out the entire 2010-11 season.
Curry is only 29 years old and could very well have a lot of good basketball left in him. The former 4th overall pick in 2001 has come a long way since he last played in the NBA. Essentially, his tryout with the Heat began last spring when he first worked out for Pat Riley. That's when the hard work and weight loss kicked into high-gear, and Curry would have to endure a couple more workouts before actually putting pen to paper with the Heat.
Just when things were getting good for Eddy, he strained his hip flexor at the beginning of training camp and has been recovering ever since. He finally got the ‘ok' to be activated and had been chomping at the bit to get in a game until he was finally given that opportunity on Thursday night. Once Curry gets his legs and basketball endurance back, he has the potential to be a major part of this team.
Known for his strong offensive play around the basket, Curry can give this Heat team something that they have been lacking; a true down-low scoring threat. If he can stay healthy and get back to playing on a regular basis, Curry can go from a professional afterthought to a legitimate difference-maker in the NBA. For now, we'll just watch him from game to game and hope that things continue to move forward.