Pat Riley sheds light on Terry Rozier’s neck injury, play with Heat

Terry Rozier
Rozier appeared in 31 games with the Heat before suffering a season-ending neck injury. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

After the Miami Heat acquired him for a (conditional) 2027 first-round pick and Kyle Lowry ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline, guard Terry Rozier was sidelined the final 11 games of the season–including Miami’s two play-in games and five playoff games–due to neck spasms.

There wasn’t much clarity of how serious it was, what exactly caused it nor the timetable for return. But team president Pat Riley offered a positive update Monday during his end-of-season press conference.

“I see with a neck brace on. He’s doing everything he’s supposed to do,” Riley said during Monday’s end-of-season press conference. “I met with him the other day, and he said he felt good. This is a process. It takes time.

“When you’re dealing with the spine, you don’t mess around. We were not going to mess around with Terry. He wanted to play desperately and he couldn’t. It’s going to heal and the doctors convinced us and him that, in time, it’s going to heal and he’s alright.”

 

Rozier, 30, played in 61 total games with the Hornets and Heat last season, averaging 19.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and one steal in 33.4 minutes per game, shooting 44.3 percent from the floor, 36.3 percent from 3-point range and 86.9 percent from the free-throw line.

Riley opened up about what he saw from Rozier prior to his injury.

“(Rozier was) exactly what his reputation is: Scary Terry,” Riley said with a smile. “He had some games where it was all right there.”

It took time for Rozier to get acclimated, in addition to a four-game absence around the All-Star break with a knee sprain, but his blend of playmaking and rebounding capabilities were two qualities that popped. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists on 42.3/37.1/91.3 shooting splits. He had a nine-game stretch from March 18 to April 4 where he tallied 21.2 points on 59.6 percent true shooting, including a 34-point performance with eight 3-pointers against the New York Knicks on April 2.

“I do think, after the trade, it took a while for him to settle in,” Riley said. “Everybody’s telling him, ‘Be yourself, be yourself, be yourself.’ Being himself in Charlotte is different than being himself here in Miami. 

“But we’re happy to have him. Our offense (ranked No. 21) needed more firepower and we felt that he could give it to us. And he did.”

Rozier is entering the third year of a four-year, $96.3 million extension he signed with Charlotte in Aug. of 2021, per Spotrac. The final year of Rozier’s contract is $24.9 million guaranteed, with the possibility of earning an additional $1.7 million if his team makes the second round of the playoffs and plays at least 70 games.

Neck and spinal injuries can not only be career-ending, but life-threatening–especially if they’re not treated properly. Thankfully, Rozier, a dynamic shot creator who helps Miami diversify its offensive menu, appears to be in good spirits and will be ready to go by training camp.

“Terry was everything that I expected,” Riley said. “I had a great conversation about some things–he’s open. He wanted to know from me about what I thought he can do–even at his age, which is young–and I gave him my opinion … He was a great addition for us. Absolutely.”

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SunManFromDogBone

Scary Terry will be fine. The Heat has 99 problems but PG ain’t one.

oregoner

I hate when people make up fake trades during the season, and especially during the playoffs. Let’s root for the guys we’ve got.

But the season is over, and the Heat need to make some changes, so here’s what I’ve got.

I am shocked to say this, because they’ve both been my least favorite player on this team in the past few months. But a backcourt of Scary Terry and J-Rich is a defensive menace that can attack the paint. That means you can trade Herro or Butler, plus a couple young guys or picks, and add a true scoring threat (like Ingram or Mitchell or whoever) and still have an absolute menace of a defensive backcourt, plus Bam.

Reality Czech

I look forward to him having a good recovery in the offseason. He asked Riley what he could do to improve – good man! This shows why people shouldn’t speculate about somebody’s health until we know all the facts.

ManilaHeat

Terry will bounce back scarier. He’s the lead pg now. Sorry Ty unless you go to the bench ala Manu w/c you have been doing well Pat might ship you out

Big_guy305

Terry gonna be the lead pg, until we get murray.

Reality Czech

I think they could play together and it would be a scary (pun intended) backcourt. Rozier, Murray, Jovic, Bam, Edey. Okay, just dreaming a little.

Big_guy305

Hell yes they can play together, that would be the perfect fit. I’ll let Terry play sg and Murray could be the pg, last time he was the pg for the whole season, he averaged a near triple double with the spurs. Murray can Play 1 or 2 on offense, and 1-3 on d.

Last edited 19 days ago by Big_guy305
heat for life

i had cervical c5 spine issues few years ago besides surgery rest is the best. the disc get better on their own over time.c u next year terry .u can really help us.

2qbn

A full offseason and season with Spo and Co will be exactly what the doctor ordered. I can’t wait to see him back and healthy.

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