The Miami Heat announced Friday that Heat guard Dru Smith will miss the remainder of the season with a Grade 3 right knee sprain.
Smith got injured after coming down awkwardly from a loose ball attempt in the first half of the Heat’s 33-point win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday after just 1:21 of play.
UPDATE: Dru Smith has been diagnosed with a 3rd degree right knee sprain. He will be out for the remainder of the season.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 24, 2023
Dru Smith injured on coaches clipboard pic.twitter.com/5BJc7UbKjt
— Bones (@Bones4y) November 23, 2023
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was vocally upset with the court’s design after Wednesday’s game.
“It is a dangerous floor,” Spoelstra said. “It’s an accident waiting to happen. You close out and all of a sudden you’re going off a cliff. If the court was normal, there wouldn’t have been any kind of incident.”
Smith was converted to Miami’s 14th roster spot ahead of the season. Though his two-year minimum contract was partially guaranteed; he has $425,000 guaranteed while the full $1.8 million was going to be guaranteed on Jan. 10.
Smith, 25, appeared in just nine games for the Heat this season. He averaged 4.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists on 45.5 percent shooting and 41.2 percent from 3-point range, knocking down seven of his 17 attempts from distance; while it’s not always the best barometer, his per 36 averages were a respectable 10.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.5 steals.
Despite playing considerably less than his counterparts, Smith was fifth in the Heat in deflections with 24; he trailed Jimmy Butler and Haywood Highsmith (27), in addition to Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Kyle Lowry, who is tied for the team lead with 29. Though his 6.6 deflections per 36 minutes was tied with Robert Covington for the NBA lead for players who played at least 100 minutes.
Similar to its approach when Kyle Lowry wasn’t on the floor to begin with, the Heat will likely operate with a point-guard-by-committee off the bench.
Miami still has its 15th roster spot available, so it does not have to use Smith’s roster spot to add any insurance behind Smith if it chooses not to.
This could also be an opportunity to showcase Jamal Cain (two-way) or Nikola Jovic in the rotation; Cain has appeared in just three games and Jovic, who better fits the playmaking/connector need at 6-foot-10, has appeared in just two.
Another Heat guard, R.J. Hampton, also on a two-way contract, suffered a sprained right knee, but it was reported last week that he’s expected to be out for an “extended” period of time.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.
To check out our other content, click here.