Friday was the first time that Heat players could formally practice together, though none of the new additions or verbal commitments could join the team. It was actually a pretty surreal scene as only six players could participate in workouts: The Big 3, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman.
Today it will be a bit more crowded inside the Heat practice gym at the AAA though. Returning players James Jones, Mario Chalmers and Juwan Howard should be there, as well as newcomers Shane Battier, Eddy Curry and draft pick Norris Cole. That means there should be 12 guys practicing, with sharpshooters Eddie House and Mike Miller sitting out due to injury.
House had a scope done on his knee and is expected to miss all of training camp. Miller is coming off of hernia surgery, though we don't know yet if it will keep him sidelined the full two months that it could take to heal from that kind of procedure, though Erik Spoelstra did call this a ‘minor setback', and also said that Miller need not worry about the Heat utilizing the one-time amnesty provision on him, saying that "he can feel confident about returning."
With enough guys to actually play some 5-on-5 today, and all but 3 of them returning from last season, Coach Spo will start to remind them of what happened last June, "Blitz them...see how much they recall." I'm sure that will be unpleasant for many of the players, but it has to be done in order for the team to move past it.
One positive thing that the Heat has going for it this camp is that so many of the players are returning. Last season there were only 5 players who had been on the previous years' roster, and the team basically had to start fresh, but this year there are 11 guys who were right there last summer feeling the pain of losing the NBA Finals.
This time around, they will have a years worth of work and experience to build on. Chris Bosh said it best "We don't have half a new team or 10 new guys like the other teams have. So we can pick up where we left off." With two weeks until the season opener on Christmas Day in Dallas, lets hope they do just that.