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Rodney McGruder participates in practice, nearing return

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Where will McGruder fit in the rotation?

NBA: New York Knicks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat will soon get last season’s starting small forward back.

Rodney McGruder, who had left tibia surgery before this season, participated in his first full practice today. Erik Spoelstra said that McGruder won’t play in the Heat’s final two games before the All-Star break — tomorrow in Toronto and Wednesday in Philadelphia. But he could return shortly after that.

It remains to be seen what role McGruder will take once he returns from his injury. McGruder assumed the role of starting small forward last year following Justise Winslow’s injury. Josh Richardson has taken a step forward in his third NBA season, and he’s averaging more minutes as a result (34.2 now to 30.5 last season). Wayne Ellington has also made himself vital to the Heat’s offense with his shooting.

And oh yeah, the Heat traded for someone named Dwyane Wade last week. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

Maybe Spoelstra will use McGruder depending on the situation, playing him when one of Miami’s wing players is having an off night or for defense against a superior perimeter player. But at the very least, it’ll be good to have the player Goran Dragic nicknamed “The Scavenger” available.