With plenty of energy but lacking some polish, the Miami Heat began training camp at FAU Arena on Tuesday morning.
Though Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts were able to complete the first training session without any setbacks, starting center Hassan Whiteside was a spectator because of a sore calf.
"I strained my calf muscle," Whiteside said. "I went Friday, I did some extra conditioning. I joined a workout and I felt a tug on my calf muscle. So I'm taking a couple of days off, just to take it day by day. I didn't really know what to expect because I had never injured it before. They said to just take it day by day, it's still early so there's no rush."
Head coach Erik Spoelstra also downplayed the injury after he guided the team through their first session with mostly defensive drills. Once media arrived inside the gym, Spoelstra directed his team to run full-court drills simulating fast-break opportunities, but the players were clearly gassed so turnovers and missed shots were mostly on display. The floor spacing and quick passing were there though and the team's depth showcased how they will have plenty of weapons to attack the basket.
"This is what we do," said Erik Spoelstra afterwards. "We're wired to get out here and work. It was very encouraging that everybody was able to get out there. Obviously, it's unfortunate that Hassan wasn't able to join the guys but everybody else had a lot of energy. It's a good first step. At the end of it, as expected, the last 15 minutes were pretty sloppy but I wanted to push through that and get them through that live set."
Dwyane Wade enjoyed getting the juices flowing again as he talked with reporters in the corner of the gym as the rest of the players took their spots practicing jumpers and free throws.
"Every player know matter how many times they've gone through training camp, you just want to get that first day out the way," he said. "So there's always a little bit of nervous energy there that first day. But it's just good and this is what you do and what you were born to do. You love getting back into the gym and you love being around your teammates. It's the start of what everyone hopes to be special so the beginning is always good."
Wade knows it's a long grind until the start of the regular season and prefers to see Whiteside take his time to get back on the court and to be cautious about it.
"He wants to be out there but as long as he's out there at the right time it's fine," he said. "Obviously, we want him out there but we want him to be smart. It's the time of the year where everyone, especially veteran guys, have to take care of their bodies. You don't want something small to become a bigger thing, especially with someone who's so valuable to the team like Hassan."
For his part, Whiteside agreed with Wade, saying there's no reason to rush back to the court for a minor injury that could be a nagging one if not treated correctly.
"Yeah, it's frustrating but I'd rather have it happen early in the season than during the season," Whiteside said. "The good thing is that I got some time to recover and just get back out there with the guys."