UPDATE 7:35 pm: It’s official, LeBron is out for a second straight game due to his sprained ankle suffered against the Clippers last Wednesday night. This really shouldn’t be a surprise, Miami is expected to be cautious during the regular season when it comes to injuries with its big three.
It just puts more on the shoulders of Dwyane Wade to beat his home town team by himself. Well, Chris Bosh might help, too.
1:33 pm: LeBron James did not participate in shootaround Saturday morning and head coach Erik Spoelstra listed him as doubtful for tonight’s game against Chicago as he continues to struggle with a sprained left ankle.
The Heat were clobbered by the Nuggets Thursday night without James and against a rolling Bulls team, even without Joakim Noah, the prospects of a win look bleak. In short, the Bulls are deeper, more cohesive, and have a formidable enough 1-2 punch of star power with Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer to offset the two remaining members of the Miami Triad in order to make it a game about depth. At that point it becomes Mike Miller, James Jones, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas against Luol Deng, Kyle Korver, and Taj Gibson, which isn’t exactly a favorable matchup for the Heat and that’s before you start looking at Carlos Arroyo’s decaying corpse.
It’s only an ankle sprain and by now James is probably feeling good enough to have a chance of it loosening up enough for him to play. But with the Heat squarely in the hunt for a top seed they can afford to miss a few games and drop a few losses in order to get James healthy. No reason to exacerbate the problem, even if a matchup against Chicago seems like a good opportunity for a statement game.
Dwyane Wade actually plays below his career average against the Bulls, averaging 21 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists.