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Rodney McGruder is almost ready to play for the Miami Heat

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Rodney McGruder hasn’t played this season, but is very close to a return.

NBA: Miami Heat at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are about to get back a player that can help them be an even deeper team. After sustaining a stress fracture in his left tibia 4 months ago, he underwent surgery and has been sidelined since then.

But now, it seems that McGruder is getting very close to a return for the Heat.

Casual NBA fans may not even know the name Rodney McGruder. A D-League player who made the roster last season and started the rest of the year for the Heat after Justise Winslow went down, he had a real shot at starting for the Heat this season. He was expected to battle Josh Richardson for the spot.

But now, in the wake of a Dion Waiters injury, McGruder can help fill another void. The Heat could move Tyler Johnson back to sharing ball handling duties in the second unit with Winslow if they wanted. I don’t think McGruder will come back and start, the Heat have found a pretty good groove with their starting unit. But McGruder’s value comes with what so many Heat players give: the intangibles.

He is a hustler, dives for loose balls, will take the charge and make the extra pass. He can hit open threes and is a smart player. McGruder, even in only 12-14 minutes a game can make a difference for the Heat.

And he’s almost ready.

Bringing the rehab process on the road

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He will certainly have to shake off some rust, but look for the month of February to be the debut for McGruder.